How often does this happen? SEC Commissioners Allison Lee (D) and Elad Roisman (R) on the same page? Ok, well, maybe they’re just on the same fragment of a sentence, but still…. Bloomberg is reporting that, at the WSJ’s CFO Network Summit, Lee expressed her view that companies’ compliance with any new SEC disclosure requirements on ESG should not be subject to “gotcha” enforcement, instead indicating that companies will be cut plenty of slack in experimenting with any new ESG rules that the SEC may adopt. She also offered several suggestions that, interestingly, were quite consistent with suggestions made last week by Roisman to mitigate the cost of compliance.
According to Bloomberg, she rejected the idea that ESG disclosure rules will involve “some kind of gotcha where we come up with a rule, and two months later, we’re knocking on your door.” Lee also confirmed that, in her view, companies should have the opportunity to experiment with ESG disclosures and “be given time to learn from their peers and get their ESG reporting right.” She advocated that the SEC phase in disclosure requirements gradually over time or “deploy a safe harbor to help companies with compliance.” Is this a signal that we should expect the SEC’s new proposal on ESG disclosure to provide a phase-in, reasonable latitude, and probably even a safe harbor for complying companies?