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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Fed solicits feedback on proposed climate-related risk principles

Bank Regulatory Federal Issues Agency Rule-Making & Guidance Federal Reserve Climate-Related Financial Risks Risk Management Supervision

On December 2, the Federal Reserve Board issued a notice requesting public comments on proposed Principles for Climate-Related Financial Risk Management for Large Financial Institutions. The proposed principles would provide a high-level framework for the safe and sound management of exposures to climate-related financial risks for the largest financial institutions (those with over $100 billion in total consolidated assets), as well as address the physical and transition risks associated with climate change. Notably the notice acknowledged that all financial institutions, regardless of size, can have material exposures to climate-related financial risks. Intended to support large financial institutions’ efforts in addressing climate-related financial risk management, the proposed principles cover six major areas related to: (i) governance; (ii) policies, procedures, and limits; (iii) strategic planning; (iv) risk management; (v) data, risk measurement, and reporting; and (vi) scenario analysis. The Fed noted that the proposed principles are substantially similar to those issued by the OCC and FDIC (covered by InfoBytes here and here), and said that the agencies intend to issue final interagency guidance to promote consistency. Comments on the proposed principles are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Governor Bowman stated that while she voted in favor of seeking input on the proposed principles, she reserves the right to vote against its finalization. She also emphasized that excluding financial institution with less than $100 billion in assets from the guidance “is appropriate based not only on the size of such firms, but also in light of the robust risk management expectations already applicable to such firms.”

However, Governor Waller issued a dissenting statement: “Climate change is real, but I disagree with the premise that it poses a serious risk to the safety and soundness of large banks and the financial stability of the United States. The Federal Reserve conducts regular stress tests on large banks that impose extremely severe macroeconomic shocks and they show that the banks are resilient.”