The private equity backlash against ESG

July 18, 2021

(Financial Times) Call it Newton’s law of corporate ownership. As listed companies come under increasing investor pressure to act on everything from executive pay to carbon emissions, a reaction against those constraints seems to be fuelling a spate of buyouts by private equity firms. The first half of 2021 was a boom period for the…

Vanguard buying direct indexing firm Just Invest

July 15, 2021

(Think Advisor) Vanguard has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Just Invest, a provider of tax-managed, tailored wealth management technology, including Kaleidoscope, which is a highly customizable, direct indexing offer.

SEC panel approves diversity and inclusion measures

July 15, 2021

(Pensions & Investments) The SEC will consider ways to increase diversity and inclusion in the asset management industry, and whether disclosure and naming rules need to be updated for funds promoting themselves as sustainable, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler told an industry advisory committee.

FTC staffers told to back out of public appearances

July 15, 2021

(Politico) Less than a week into Lina Khan’s tenure as Federal Trade Commission chair, her chief of staff ordered the agency’s staff to cancel all public appearances, according to internal agency emails viewed by POLITICO.

Blackstone to buy ESG software provider Sphera in $1.4 bln deal

July 15, 2021

(Reuters) Blackstone Group Inc said it will buy Sphera, a environmental, social and governance (ESG) software, data and consulting services provider, from private equity firm Genstar Capital in a $1.4 billion deal.

Twilio, Asana to list on Long-Term Stock Exchange as ESG push continues

June 24, 2021

(WSJ) Exchange hopes to be signal to investors of which companies have sustainable practices.

How Twitter hired tech’s biggest critics to build ethical AI

June 23, 2021

(Protocol) Machine learning engineer Ari Font was worried about the future of Twitter’s algorithms. It was mid-2020, and the leader of the team researching ethics and accountability for the company’s ML had just left Twitter. For Font, the future of the ethics research was unclear. Font was the manager of Twitter’s machine learning platforms teams…

Top tech groups try to dilute ESG disclosure rules

June 20, 2021

(Financial Times) Microsoft and Alphabet have pushed back against calls to include disclosures on environmental, social and governance issues in key US regulatory filings, setting them on course for a tussle with major asset managers.

Biden elevates tech antitrust crusader Lina Khan to FTC chair

June 15, 2021

(TechCrunch) The Senate confirmed Big Tech critic and prominent antitrust scholar Lina Khan as FTC Commissioner Tuesday. In a strong and surprising signal that the tech industry is overdue for some intense regulatory scrutiny, Biden elevated the newly-confirmed Khan to chair the agency the same day.

Does Tech Need a New Narrative?

June 15, 2021

(The New Yorker) In Silicon Valley, “disruption” is giving way to “building.” What will be built? In 2009, Marc Andreessen—a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and angel investor best known for cofounding Netscape, in 1994, at the age of twenty-two—announced that he would be starting a venture-capital firm. “I’m crossing over into the dark side,” he said,…