ASA Submits Comments on ESG Practices in the Municipal Securities Markets
WASHINGTON – Following a request for information from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), the American Securities Association (ASA) submitted a comment letter on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices in the municipal securities market.
“Municipal bonds were ESG-friendly long before ‘ESG’ became a marketable term that often encompasses political issues that are financially immaterial to issuers of debt and equity,” ASA CEO Chris Iacovella wrote in the letter. “In the context of the municipal bond market, we believe the SEC and MSRB should continue to support disclosures that allow investors to assess the financial creditworthiness of municipal issuers, while avoiding a regulatory adoption of any specific set of ESG or non-financial performance standards.”
In the letter, ASA also urged the MSRB to consider improvements to the Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) system in addition to those enhancements that were implemented in 2018. Given heightened interest around ESG issues, a search function that allowed investors to easily access information around ESG-labeled bonds or ESG-related disclosures from issuers would help meet any demand for ESG information without applying uniform or prescriptive disclosure mandates. The ASA has actively engaged Congress and the SEC regarding the debate over ESG investing and the growing market for ESG-labeled securities and products. Last June, the ASA submitted comments, including its Disclosure Resource Index, in response to the request for information on climate change and ESG disclosures.
ASA’s regional financial services companies work in communities across the country to create jobs, grow the economy, and increase prosperity for all Americans. The ASA exclusively represents the capital market and private client interests of its members and seeks to promote free market principles making it easier to access financial advice and capital. ASA members help Americans save for retirement, provide Main Street businesses with capital to grow, and advise hardworking Americans how to create and preserve wealth. For the latest updates follow @AmerSecurities and learn more at http://americansecurities.org/.