SEC creates new role for climate, ESG issues

BY: Hazel Bradford

Satyam Khanna was named senior policy adviser at the SEC in a new position addressing climate and ESG issues, acting Chairwoman Allison Herren Lee said Monday.

In the position, Mr. Khanna will advise the Securities and Exchange Commission on ESG issues “and advance related new initiatives across its offices and divisions,” including reviewing the agency’s regulations, Ms. Lee said in a statement. She called climate risk and other ESG matters “issues of great significance to investors and the capital markets.”

Mr. Khanna was most recently a resident fellow at NYU School of Law’s Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance and part of President Joe Biden’s transition team for financial regulators. He is returning to the SEC where he was counsel for former Commissioner Robert. J. Jackson Jr. and served on the agency’s Investor Advisory Committee subcommittee for asset owners.

Steven M. Rothstein, managing director of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, said in a separate statement that having Mr. Khanna in the new position is a critical step toward mandating climate risk disclosure and addressing climate change as a systemic financial risk. Mr. Rothstein praised Ms. Lee’s leadership on climate risk disclosure, and said he was encouraged by Mr. Khanna’s experience with the SEC and the Financial Stability Oversight Council, and by his position on climate change. We “are looking forward to working with him to address it as a systemic risk to our markets and our economy,” Mr. Rothstein said.

An October report from the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets said that the U.S. banking sector was far more exposed to climate risk than banks are currently disclosing to regulators and investors. The organization has also made more than 50 recommendations to the SEC and other financial regulators on ways to address climate as a systemic risk.


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