Asia Newsletter | March 2021

Asia Newsletter

NEWSLETTER: Easter is here, and I’m glad to have returned after time away with family to find a positive outlook from clients and colleagues across Hong Kong and Singapore. Since our last newsletter the local regulators have been keen to show us that the global regulatory topic of ESG is as important here in Singapore and Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, Ashley Alder spoke in his capacity as chair of IOSCO at the Climate Risk and Green Finance Regulatory Forum. He called out the issue of inconsistent sustainability reporting, which makes ‘greenwashing’ easier, and thus threatens the credibility of the whole climate disclosure effort. This explains the importance placed locally on making climate disclosures mandatory for asset managers, which was consulted on back in October 2020, and we expect the new requirements to be published soon. He also highlighted the importance of the IFRS Foundation proposal, which will establish a sustainability standard setting board alongside (and of equal importance with) the existing International Accounting Standards Board.

In Singapore, Ravi Menon spoke at the IMAS-Bloomberg investment conference on Singapore’s continued focus to be the centre for green finance in Asia. This includes initiatives such as MAS grants to encourage the issue of corporate ‘sustainability’ bonds and loans in addition to government issued green bonds. He also announced that MAS will place US$2bn of funds with asset managers that are committed to a genuine ‘green’ focus and sustainability investing. Singapore also have a number of initiatives in place to try and tackle the issue of a lack of consistent ESG reporting.

Topics in this month’s newsletter include bookbuilding and short position reporting in Hong Kong, and a helpful framework for meeting new expectations around remote working and resilience in Singapore. As always please reach out to our local Asia teams if you’d like to discuss these or any other regulatory topics.

Rebecca Thorpe
Head of Asia

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