According to Law 360 reporting on a webcast panel last week, Acting Director of Enforcement Melissa Hodgman, warned that, in addition to “increased scrutiny” of “funds touting green investments,” we may well see more ESG disclosure-related enforcement actions in general. In March, then-Acting SEC Chair Allison Herren Lee announced the creation of a new climate and ESG task force in the Division of Enforcement. The moderator of the panel, a former co-Director of Enforcement, observed that “usually you don’t stand up a task force unless you’re pretty sure that task force is going to produce something.” So what should we expect?
When asked by the moderator to describe the types of cases we should expect to see, Hodgman responded with a pretty good head’s up: “the public can expect to see more cases like September’s Fiat Chrysler case.”
According to Hodgman, we should “expect to see ‘other cases like that, where there was a misstatement or something that wasn’t disclosed to investors that they needed to know to make [an] investment decision.’” In addition, she observed “that ‘like many of the other areas, I don’t think this is a different approach to enforcement or applying anything in a different way,’ adding that ‘our securities laws were written to evolve and [meet] the new products and the new environments in which we find ourselves.’”