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Alternative Market Briefing

SEC's mixed messages prompt warning from institutional investors on conflict minerals

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

The SEC may be taking a more hands-off posture under the new administration, but institutional investors aren't about to let companies off the hook. A group of 47 institutional investors representing $1.2 trillion in assets issued a statement today cautioning companies to continue to comply with the conflict minerals reporting requirements legislated in section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protections Act.

The statement is in direct response to comments made last year by SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar which appeared to indicate that this federally mandated reporting may not be enforced by the agency. As a result of these comments, investors say corporate reporting under 1502 has declined and/or become inconsistent, significantly increasing the risk of human rights violations for companies with supply chains sourcing from the region.

"Commissioner Piwowar's comments do not give companies permission to neglect the due diligence reporting requirements outlined under Dodd-Frank. Regardless of whether the SEC chooses to fulfill its obligations to enforce the Rule, we want to stress that these disclosures continue to be a strong investor expectation," said Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management.

Conflict minerals are tantalum, tungsten, tin (3Ts) or gold mined from ore, and extracted in Congo or nine surrounding countries, including Angola, Rwanda and Sudan. Trade in 3Ts and gold from thes......................

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