15/02/2021 – Finance / Environment / Sustainability / deVere / Investments / ESG / US
Biden regulatory moves will make ESG the ‘ultimate investment megatrend’
The US President’s expected regulatory changes will push environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing “to become the ultimate megatrend,” predicts the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.
The bold comment from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which has US$12bn under advisement, comes as President Joe Biden picks Gary Gensler to head the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), America’s financial regulator.
“Joe Biden’s administration is going to usher in an era of serious momentum for responsible and sustainable investing,” predicted Mr Green, adding that this was not only due to his likely tougher approach to the use of fossil fuels and his campaign’s vow to take swift action to tackle the climate emergency.
“It is also because of the expected appointment of Gary Gensler to lead the SEC, who is likely to heavily reform and broaden ESG investing and corporate disclosure rules in the US,” he continued. “In doing such, we can assume that Gensler would have the major support on the Commission.”
Managing climate risks
For instance, upon her appointment as acting SEC chair, Allison Herren Lee said that during her time as a Commissioner, “I have focused on climate and sustainability, and those issues will continue to be a priority for me.”
In The New York Times, she wrote that: “Both investors and the broader public need clear information about how businesses are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and how they are managing — or not managing — climate risks internally. Realistically, that can happen only through mandatory public disclosure.”
Nigel Green continued that: “Should the SEC push ahead with beefing-up green investment rules, as is expected, it will close the transatlantic gap that has emerged in recent years as the European watchdogs pushed ahead with increased stricter ESG investing and disclosure regulations.”
He goes on to add: “At the beginning of 2020, I described ESG investing as a ‘megatrend’ of the decade. And throughout the year inflow doubled and ESG funds outperformed the market.
“But the tag ‘megatrend’ would now seem somewhat underplayed if the US moves towards ESG-related regulatory reforms and comes into line with Europe.
“Responsible investing will become the ultimate investment megatrend, should this happen.”
Encouraging socially responsible investing
In a move to encourage clients to consider ESG opportunities, last month deVere Group announced it is planning to offer free, independent advice on socially responsible investing, with the aim of positioning US$1bn in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments within five years.
“The likely rule changes in the US on ESG investing and corporate disclosures are not as yet heavily priced-in to markets,” noted the deVere CEO in closing. “Investors should keep a keen eye on this area, and move to take advantage of the opportunities.”