On October 28, 2022, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (Catholic Law) — in collaboration with Catholic University’s Busch School of Business and Dechert LLP — hosted students, faculty, and guests to explore Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing; recent SEC proposals relating to ESG investing; SEC compliance and enforcement issues; and ESG developments outside the U.S. The conference, ESG Investing Under the Federal Securities Laws, was coordinated by Jack W. Murphy, Director of the Securities Law Program at Catholic Law. Continuing Legal Education credit was available for attendees, who were able to attend the conference either in person or through an online webinar.
On the afternoon of the conference, the Law School eagerly welcomed participants to join in this important topic of conversation. Dean Stephen Payne opened the proceedings with a few words of welcome, and Professor Murphy provided a brief introduction of the topic. The remainder of the day included four moderated panel discussions, with panelists representing the investment management industry, the private bar, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Catholic Law students representing the Securities Law Program.
Panel 1: Development of ESG Investing: Selection and Management of Investments
The objective of the first panel was to provide background on the growth of ESG investing, as well as to discuss the various types of and approaches to ESG investing.
Moderator: Dr. Irene Kim, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Finance at the Busch School of Business
Student Panelist: Tyler Buchholz (3E), Securities Law Program, Catholic Law
Panelists: Eric Meyers, Portfolio Manager and Research Analyst, Congress Asset Management Co.; Bruce Goldfarb, CEO of Okapi Partners; and Heather Matranga, Vice President and Managing Director, Impact Investments, Village Capital
Panel 2: SEC Disclosure and Rulemaking Initiatives
This panel discussed the current disclosure and other requirements that apply to ESG investing, as well as the changes that would be required by pending SEC disclosure and rule proposals.
Moderator: Julien Bourgeois, Partner, Dechert LLP
Student Panelist: Thomas Archer (3E), President, Securities Law Students Association, Catholic Law
Panelists: Brenden Carroll, Partner, Dechert LLP; Zeena Abdul-Rahman, Branch Chief, Office of Investment Company Regulation, Division of Investment Management, Securities and Exchange Commission; and Christopher Cafiero, Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs, Asset and Wealth Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Panel 3: SEC Compliance and Enforcement
In the course of this panel, panelists discussed ESG initiatives taken by the SEC in the context of examinations of investment advisers and funds, steps taken by the industry to ensure compliance by ESG advisers and funds, and SEC enforcement initiatives relating to ESG investments.
Moderator: James Catano ’11, Partner, Dechert LLP
Student Panelist: Lauren Ferraro (4E), Vice President, Securities Law Students Association, Catholic Law
Panelists: Anthony Kelly, Partner, Dechert LLP; Sara Pak, Senior Legal Counsel, T. Rowe Price; Brian McGrady, Associate General Counsel, New York Life; and Natasha (Vij) Greiner ’01, National Associate Director for the Investment Adviser/Investment Company Examination Program and Associate Director for the Washington, DC Investment Adviser/Investment Company Examination Program, Division of Examinations, Securities and Exchange Commission
Panel 4: ESG Developments Outside the United States
The fourth and final panel of the day aimed to summarize developments in ESG Investing that have taken place outside the United States and their impact on US-based Investment Advisers.
Moderator: Christopher Christian '98, Partner, Dechert LLP
Student Panelist: Dasol Lee (3L), Securities Law Program, Catholic Law
Panelists: Ross Stoeterau, Chief Counsel, International Distribution, Product and Regulatory, Nuveen; and Jennifer Choi, Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor, Ropes & Gray (formerly Chief Counsel, ICI Global)
Final remarks concluded the conference. Special thanks was given to the Securities Law Program, the Busch School of Business, and Dechert for partnering together to put on the conference, as well as to each of the panelists and attendees for their time. Those attending the conference in person were then invited to Louise H. Keelty and James Keelty, Jr. Atrium for a reception.