OCIE might be turning up the heat on ESG

Blue Wolf hires new COO; SEC examinations department comes out with its priorities for 2020

People: Blue Wolf Capital Partners, a mid-market firm that takes control stakes in its investments, has hired a new chief operating officer. That story here.

Shot across the ESG bow? The SEC’s Office of Compliance and Examinations has released its exam priorities for the year. It makes a quick mention that it has “a particular interest” in the accuracy and disclosures investment advisors make on environmental, social and governance investments. That could be perceived as a shot across the ESG bow by the conservative-majority SEC, led by chairman Jay Clayton. Last year, Clayton voted to loosen the grip of proxy advisors and proposed regulations in November to limit their influence. ESG investors fear the rule could hamper ESG progress.

With Regulation BI set to be implemented in June, the OCIE has also rolled the SEC’s interpretation of fiduciary duty into its exams. And – just as the SEC considers opening up the private funds markets to retail investors – OCIE examinations will focus on recommendations and advice given to retail investors regarding complex, non-transparent investments with high fees and expenses.

Email prepared by Graham Bippart