On June 22 2022, the SEC published its Spring 2022 regulatory agenda in which it outlined the Commission’s short and long-term regulatory interests. The SEC appears intent on proceeding with its fast-paced stream of proposed rule makings that have dominated the first half of this year. The agenda includes rule making related to climate change, diversity, human capital management, executive compensation, cyber security, and other subjects that would add to the current regulatory landscape of the financial markets. Three high-profile examples are the adoption of final rules related to, (1) climate change disclosures, as discussed in this article, (2) investment company and advisor disclosures relating to ESG factors designed in part to combat “greenwashing,” as discussed in this article, and (3) disclosure of cyber security risks, as discussed in this article.
When publishing the agenda, SEC Chair Gary Gensler emphasized that the SEC’s determined approach is being driven by the desire to “modernize our rules for today’s economy and technologies,” in order to protect investors and maintain orderly capital markets. Commissioner Hester Peirce issued a dissenting statement arguing against the rapid pace of the SEC’s regulatory activity, analogizing the SEC’s flood of proposed rule makings to a “rip current—fast-moving currents flowing away from shore that can be fatal to swimmers.” Commissioner Peirce added that many of the proposed rules relate to hot-button political issues that are not clearly within the SEC’s expertise or its statutory mandate.