Category: ESG

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AUSTRALIA: ASIC Starts 2023 with Focus on Greenwashing
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AUSTRALIA: Climate and sustainability-related financial disclosure reforms on the horizon
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AUSTRALIA: ASIC gears up enforcement activity
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United States: A Record Year: SEC FY 2022 Enforcement Actions Bring Big Penalties
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United States: SEC Adopts Expanded Proxy Voting Reporting by Registered Funds and New Reporting of Executive Compensation Votes by Form 13F Filers

AUSTRALIA: ASIC Starts 2023 with Focus on Greenwashing

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

ASIC has brought in the New Year with a focus on green-washing, issuing infringement notices against two different companies, one a superannuation fund trustee and the second being an energy company. The corporations have paid $13,320 and $39,960 respectively in compliance with the infringement notices, noting that payment of such infringement notices is not an admission of guilty or liability.

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AUSTRALIA: Climate and sustainability-related financial disclosure reforms on the horizon

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

1. Australian Government consults on climate-related financial disclosure framework

The Australian Government has released a consultation paper seeking feedback on the design and implementation of their commitment to a standardised, internationally-aligned climate-related financial disclosure framework.  The framework proposes a ‘phased’ approach where the increased disclosure obligations apply initially to large, listed entities and financial institutions, and be later expanded to smaller firms. 

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AUSTRALIA: ASIC gears up enforcement activity

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

1. ASIC takes further action on greenwashing

ASIC has issued three infringement notices to investment manager Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (Vanguard) in further action against alleged greenwashing.

ASIC was concerned that Product Disclosure Statements for the Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Funds may have misled the public by overstating an investment screen which claimed to prevent investment in companies involved in significant tobacco sales. 

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United States: A Record Year: SEC FY 2022 Enforcement Actions Bring Big Penalties

By: Keri E. Riemer, Michael W. McGrath, Neil T. Smith, Hayley Trahan-Liptak, and Christopher F. Warner

On 15 November 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its enforcement statistics for its 2022 fiscal year (FY 2022), noting that it filed 760 total enforcement actions — a 9% increase over fiscal year 2021.  This total was comprised of 462 new actions, 169 “follow-on” actions, and 129 actions for delinquent filings.  Money obtained in SEC actions, comprising civil penalties, disgorgement, and pre-judgment interest, totaled a record-breaking $6.439 billion (compared to $3.852 billion in fiscal year 2021).  Civil penalties, totaling $4.194 billion, were also the highest on record.

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United States: SEC Adopts Expanded Proxy Voting Reporting by Registered Funds and New Reporting of Executive Compensation Votes by Form 13F Filers

By: Lynn A. Schweinfurth, Kathy Kresch Ingber, and Crystal Liu

On November 2, by a vote of 3 to 2, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted, largely as proposed, amendments to Form N-PX under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and new Rule 14Ad-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Amendments).  The Amendments expand the proxy voting information that registered investment companies (Funds) report on Form N-PX, and require, for the first time, Form 13F filers (Managers) to report annually on Form N-PX how they voted proxies concerning certain shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation (“say-on-pay” votes).

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