November 03, 2021
ON COP26 FINANCE DAY ACTING SUPERINTENDENT ADRIENNE A. HARRIS ANNOUNCES NEWLY CREATED CLIMATE DIVISION, NEW EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENT
New Division and Appointment Elevate the Importance of Climate-Related Financial Risks in Financial Supervision
Dr. Yue (Nina) Chen Appointed Executive Deputy Superintendent of Newly-Created Climate Division
First U.S. State Banking Regulator to Establish a Climate Division
On the COP26 Finance Day, Acting Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris announced the establishment of a new Climate Division at the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), as well as the appointment of the new division’s leader, as climate change poses wide-ranging and material risks to the financial system. Dr. Yue (Nina) Chen, who is DFS’s inaugural Director of Sustainability and Climate Initiatives, will lead the new division as Executive Deputy Superintendent.
“As one of the most critical issues of our generation, climate change poses wide-ranging and material risks to the financial system,” Acting Superintendent Harris said. “This new division and Nina’s appointment position DFS at the forefront of climate-related financial supervision, fulfilling DFS’ mandate to ensure the safety and soundness of our regulated companies as they manage the financial risks from climate change, and support the roles of our institutions in advancing the low-carbon transition and enhancing communities’ resilience.”
As the finance and insurance sectors take demonstrative steps towards managing their financial risks from climate change and supporting the low carbon transition, the new Climate Division will integrate climate risks into its supervision of regulated entities, support the industry’s growth in managing climate risks, coordinate with international, national, and state regulators, develop internal capacity on climate-related financial risks, support the capacity-building of peer regulators on climate-related supervision, and ensure fair access to financial services for all communities, especially those most impacted by climate change.
DFS was the first U.S. financial regulator to join the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System and is also a member of the Sustainable Insurance Forum, the global network of insurance supervisors and regulators who are working together on sustainability challenges facing the insurance sector. The Department has also established a set of expectations that banks and insurers integrate the consideration of the financial risks from climate change into their governance frameworks, risk management processes, and business strategies, and develop their approach to climate-related financial disclosure.
Dr. Chen was appointed Director of Sustainability and Climate Initiatives in May 2020. Under her leadership, DFS became the first U.S. financial regulator to establish a holistic set of expectations for banks and insurers to integrate the financial risks from climate change into corporate governance, business strategies, risk management, and disclosure. She also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Climate Risk Steering Group at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors.
Before joining DFS, Dr. Chen was the Nature Conservancy’s Director of Conservation Investments in New Jersey, and later in New York. In this role she developed innovative conservation finance programs, advised cities on attracting private capital to accelerate and scale up conservation impacts, and led urban water resilience initiatives. She started her career in finance, which spanned a wide range of areas, including sovereign bonds, interest rates derivatives, mortgages, and structured credit products, at Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Canada, among others. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.