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The following posts provide a snapshot of the principal U.S., European and global financial regulatory developments of interest to banks, investment firms, broker-dealers, market infrastructures, asset managers and corporates.

  • UK Climate Financial Risk Forum Publishes 2020 Guide
    07/29/2020

    The U.K. Climate Financial Risk Forum has published its first guide providing practical recommendations for the financial services sector on how to respond to climate-related financial risks. The CFRF was established by the U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority and is made up of industry representatives from the banking, insurance and asset management sectors, as well as others such as the London Stock Exchange Group and the Green Finance Institute. The CFRF aims to build capacity and share best practice across the finance industry in order to improve the financial services sector's response to the financial risks arising from climate change.

    Read more.
  • EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy Regulation Published
    07/22/2020

    A new EU Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (commonly referred to as the Taxonomy Regulation) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Taxonomy is a classification system for sustainable activities that is designed to provide a shared understanding of the environmental sustainability of activities and investments. The Regulation sets out the environment objectives for the Taxonomy and the criteria for determining whether an economic activity qualifies as environmentally sustainable. It also makes various amendments to the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, including requiring the European Supervisory Authorities to develop regulatory technical standards specifying the content and presentation of information demonstrating that a given investment does not significantly harm relevant environmental objectives. 

    Read more.
  • European Commission Publishes FAQs on Sustainable Finance Initiatives
    07/10/2020

    The European Commission has published Frequently Asked Questions on the EU taxonomy and Green Bond Standard. The EU taxonomy is a classification system that will create a common language for sustainable activities, to help determine whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable. The Green Bond Standard establishes labels for financial products that are judged to be "green". The taxonomy and Standard are two products of the Commission's 2018 Action Plan on Financing Sustainable growth. 

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Regulator Publishes 2019 Annual Report and Updated 2020 Work Program
    06/15/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its 2019 Annual Report together with an updated version of its 2020 Work Program, incorporating changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
     
    ESMA’s 2019 Annual Report discusses ESMA’s work in 2019, which included: (a) the entry into force of EMIR 2.2, including significant new responsibilities for ESMA in the authorization and supervision of CCPs; (b) ESMA’s common supervisory action on the application of the revised Markets in Financial Instrument Directive’s requirements on the assessment of appropriateness, for which ESMA will consider whether any follow-up work is needed in 2020; (c) reviews of MiFID II and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, including on fair access to, and lowering the cost of, market data and the consolidated tape; and (d) sustainable finance, including technical advice delivered to the European Commission on the integration of sustainability risks for investment firms and investment funds into relevant EU legislation, a report on undue short-termism in securities markets and contributions to the technical expert group on sustainable finance which is due to deliver technical advice on delegated legislation relating to the EU Benchmarks Regulation.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Publishes Adjusted 2020 Work Program
    05/27/2020

    The European Commission has published an adjusted 2020 Work Program to reflect the unexpected challenges arising from COVID-19. The Commission still intends to deliver on the commitments made under its original Work Program, published in January 2020, but has adjusted the timing of certain actions necessary to achieve its objectives. An update on the delivery and expected timing of the objectives under the adjusted Work Program are set out in an amended version of Annex 1 on the Commission’s website.

    Read more.
  • European Central Bank Consults on Climate-Related and Environmental Risks Guide for Banks
    05/20/2020

    The European Central Bank has launched a consultation on its proposed guide on how Eurozone banks should manage and disclose climate-related and environmental risks in accordance with the EU prudential framework. The guide is not legally binding, but aims to raise awareness within the Eurozone banking industry of climate-related and environmental risks and to improve the management of such risks. The consultation closes on September 25, 2020.
     
    The guide applies to significant institutions directly supervised by the ECB, although national regulators in Eurozone member states are expected to apply the guide’s expectations proportionately when supervising less significant Eurozone banks. It should be read in the context of the wider EU bank prudential framework, with particular reference to the Capital Requirements Regulation, the Capital Requirements Directive and relevant ECB guidelines. The guide includes an overview of the nature and characteristics of climate-related and environmental risks as well as the ECB’s supervisory expectations of banks’ business models and strategies, governance and risk appetite and integration of climate-related and environment risks into their credit, operational, market and liquidity risk management frameworks.
     
    View the ECB's consultation on its Climate-Related and Environmental Risks Guide.
  • European Supervisory Authorities Consult on Technical Standards on Sustainability Disclosures
    04/23/2020

    The European Supervisory Authorities have launched a joint consultation on proposed Regulatory Technical Standards on content, methodologies and presentation of disclosures under the EU Regulation on sustainability‚Äźrelated disclosures in the financial services sector, known as the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. Responses to the consultation can be submitted until September 1, 2020.

    Read more.
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Highlights Cross-Border Issues in Sustainable Finance
    04/14/2020

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has published a final report on Sustainable Finance and the Role of Securities Regulators and IOSCO. The report underlines the negative impact on cross-border financial activities and the investor protection concerns caused by the existence of multiple and diverse sustainability frameworks and standards, including sustainability-related disclosure, the absence of common definitions of sustainable activities and greenwashing and other challenges to investor protection.

    As a result of the findings, the IOSCO Board is establishing a Board-level Task Force on Sustainable Finance. The Task Force will aim to: (i) improve sustainability disclosures by issuers and asset managers; (ii) collaborate with other international standard-setters and regulators to avoid duplicative efforts and to enhance regulatory coordination; and (iii) develop case studies and analyses of transparency, investor protection and other issues to demonstrate the practical implications.

    View the report.
  • European Commission Launches Consultation on Sustainable Finance Strategy
    04/08/2020

    The European Commission has launched a consultation on its renewed sustainable finance strategy. The consultation was proposed at the beginning of 2020 as part of the Commission’s next steps for sustainable finance. It poses a series of questions to all EU citizens, public authorities and private organizations, as well as experts with particular knowledge of finance and sustainability, on the aspects of the EU’s renewed strategy. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by July 15, 2020.

    Read more.
  • EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance Publishes Final Taxonomy Recommendations 
    03/09/2020

    The European Commission has published a final Taxonomy report of the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance. The EU Taxonomy is the EU's classification system of sustainable activities, the legal basis of which is set out in the proposed Taxonomy Regulation (agreed at political level in December 2019). The proposed Taxonomy Regulation sets the environment objectives for the Taxonomy and imposes new obligations for market participants, large companies, the EU and EU Member States. The Taxonomy Regulation will be supplemented by secondary legislation that will set out detailed technical screening criteria to establish when an economic activity can be considered sustainable. The Taxonomy Report provides the TEG's final recommendations to the European Commission on certain content for much of that secondary legislation and replaces the earlier reports of the TEG. 

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Consults on Enhancing Climate-Related Disclosures by Certain Issuers
    03/06/2020

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a consultation paper on proposals to enhance climate-related disclosures by listed issuers and to clarify the existing disclosure obligations of issuers in relation to climate, environmental, social and governance matters. The FCA proposals would implement the disclosure recommendations of the Financial Stability Board's Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Responses to the consultation may be submitted until October 1, 2020. 

    Read more.
  • UK Launch of COP26 Private Finance Agenda
    02/27/2020

    The outgoing Governor of the Bank of England has announced the launch of the COP26 Private Finance Agenda. In January this year, Mark Carney was appointed as Finance Adviser for COP26 to assist the U.K. Government to build a sustainable financial system that supports the transition to a net zero emissions economy. Andrew Bailey will replace Mr. Carney as the Governor of the Bank of England from March 16, 2020. The objective of the COP26 Private Finance Agenda is for every professional financial decision to take climate change into account.

    View the Bank of England's press release of the launch.

    View Mark Carney's speech to launch the COP26 Private Finance Agenda.
  • European Commission Seeks Feedback on Changes to Non-Financial Reporting Regime
    01/30/2020

    The European Commission is seeking feedback on a roadmap for its proposed changes to the Non-Financial Reporting Directive. The Directive specifies the non-financial information (e.g., regarding the environment, social issues and bribery and corruption) that large listed companies, banks and insurance companies must report on annually. The Commission has committed to review the Directive in order to strengthen firms’ reporting in this area, particularly with respect to the adequacy of reporting on sustainable investment. Policy options include: (i) revising the existing non-binding guidelines on reporting under the Directive; (ii) endorsing existing or future voluntary standards on non-financial reporting; and (iii) revising and strengthening the provisions of the Directive itself. Feedback on the roadmap should be submitted by February 27, 2020. The Commission intends to launch a further consultation on the possible revision of the Directive in Q1 2020.

    View the Commission's roadmap on revision of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive.
  • European Commission Publishes 2020 Work Programme
    01/29/2020

    The European Commission has published its 2020 Work Programme, setting out the EU’s strategic priorities for the next 12 months.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Announces Next Steps for Sustainable Finance
    01/16/2020

    The European Commission has published a Communication detailing the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan that will support the European Green Deal Investment Plan. The Communication is accompanied by a proposed Regulation to establish a Just Transition Fund and a Factsheet explaining the Plan. Feedback on the proposed Regulation can be submitted until March 12, 2020.

    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Publishes 2020-2022 Strategic Orientation
    01/09/2020

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its Strategic Orientation for 2020-2022, setting out its longer-term objectives for regulating financial markets. The previous Strategic Orientation covered the period from 2016-2020 and so is coming to an end this year. Looking forward, ESMA aims to:
    • develop the EU Capital Markets Union by encouraging wider retail investor participation, which would assist with the diversification of funding sources and efficiency of capital markets;
    • promote sustainable finance and long-term oriented capital markets as part of the EU's commitment to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030;
    • examine the opportunities and risks of digitalization and technology for market participants and regulators;
    • guarantee the EU's voice in financial markets, aiming to maintain the openness of EU financial markets and develop EU co-operation with third-country authorities to ensure investor protection and financial stability; and
    • encourage proportionality, particularly with respect to SMEs and innovative companies, where ESMA may need to tailor its initiatives to meet its objectives.

    View ESMA 2020-2022 Strategic Orientation.
  • EU Publishes Handbook for Climate Benchmarks
    12/20/2019

    The EU Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance has published a Handbook providing guidance on the EU’s new climate transition benchmarks (EU CTB) and Paris-aligned benchmarks (EU PAB), as well as on the environmental, social and governance disclosures that will be applicable to all investment benchmarks (other than currency and interest rate benchmarks) in the future. Conventional benchmarks do not typically reflect low-carbon considerations, but an increasing focus on sustainability has led to a proliferation in recent years of specific low-carbon benchmarks that were not subject to clear or comparable standards.

    Read more.
  • Bank of England Consults on Proposed 2021 Climate Change Stress Tests
    12/18/2019

    The Bank of England has published a discussion paper seeking feedback on its proposals for a series of 2021 stress-tests on climate-related risks for the largest banks, insurers and the financial system. The stress tests will help to quantify potential climate change risks faced by the financial system and enable market participants and oversight bodies like the BoE to develop measures to prepare for those risks. Responses to the consultation should be submitted by March 18, 2020. The final stress testing framework will be published in the second half of 2020 with the results of the exercise published in 2021.

    Read more.
  • EU Recommendations to Combat Undue Short-Term Pressure From Financial Sector on Corporates
    12/18/2019

    The European Supervisory Authorities have each published advice to the European Commission on undue short-term pressure from the financial sector on corporations. The ESAs comprise the European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority. The ESAs' advice responds to the European Commission's request in June 2019 for evidence and possible advice on potential undue short-term pressure by financial service participants on corporations. The Commission asked the ESAs to: (i) provide evidence of any short-termism and, if any, the consequences thereof; (ii) assess the drivers of such short-termism, including the effects of regulation on financial market participants, for example, the guidance on remuneration practices; (iii) identify existing regulations that either mitigate or exacerbate short-term pressures; and (iv) evaluate the need for regulatory or policy action and propose specific areas where action is needed. The ESAs' advice, summarized below, may result in the Commission proposing amendments to several pieces of EU legislation, such as the Capital Requirements Directive and related Regulation, the Markets in Financial Instruments package and the Non-Financial Reporting Directive.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Feedback on Climate Change and Green Finance Projects
    12/16/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a feedback statement on its proposals for improving climate change disclosures and the information given to consumers about green financial products and services. The feedback statement follows the FCA’s discussion paper on climate change and green finance, in which it sought comments on potential changes to its regulatory approach in these areas. 

    Read more.
  • European Commission Publishes Regulation Amending EU Benchmarks Regulation
    12/09/2019

    The European Commission has published a Regulation amending the EU Benchmarks Regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union. The amending Regulation aims to introduce minimum requirements for EU Climate Transition Benchmarks and EU Paris-aligned Benchmarks to improve the accuracy and integrity of those benchmarks for their users. 

    Read more.
  • European Commission Publishes Regulation on Sustainability-Related Disclosures in Financial Services
    12/09/2019

    A new Regulation on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Regulation is intended to encourage the financial services sector to disclose information about their approaches to sustainability risk and consideration of adverse sustainability impacts in the course of their businesses, as part of wider EU efforts to combat climate change and other sustainability-related issues. Climate change and sustainable finance are particular areas of focus for the EU.  

    Read more.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Action Plan on Sustainable Finance
    12/06/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published an action plan on sustainable finance, setting out how it intends to deliver on its aims to help combat environmental, social and governance risks and providing clarity on the direction of its policy in this area. The EBA has been mandated to contribute to work on ESG risks under various pieces of EU legislation and will focus on environmental factors and climate change in its initial phase of work. The action plan also sets out the EBA’s projected timelines and milestones on sustainable finance.

    Read more.
  • UK Conduct Regulator Publishes Feedback on Climate Change and Green Finance Projects
    10/16/2019

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a feedback statement on its proposals for improving climate change disclosures and the information given to consumers about green financial products and services. The feedback statement follows the FCA’s discussion paper on climate change and green finance, in which it sought comments on potential changes to its regulatory approach in these areas.

    Read more.
  • European Supervisory Authorities Publish Joint 2020 Work Programme
    10/02/2019

    The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities has published its 2020 work program, outlining revisions to the Joint Committee’s scope of work and the matters it will focus on in 2020. The Joint Committee consists of representatives from the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority, the European Commission and the European Systemic Risk Board. 

    Read more.
  • EU Publishes Technical Advice on Disclosure Requirements for New Climate Benchmarks
    09/30/2019

    The European Commission's Technical Expert Group has published a final report on EU climate benchmarks and benchmark Environmental, Social and Governance disclosures. The Commission set up the TEG on Sustainable Finance when it published its legislative proposal for amending the EU Benchmark Regulation as part of its action plan on Sustainable Finance. The proposed legislation will create two new categories of low carbon benchmarks: the EU Climate Transition Benchmark (EU CTB) and the EU Paris-aligned Benchmark (EU PAB). It also includes ESG disclosure requirements for all investment benchmarks. The final text of the proposal has been agreed and it is expected to be published in October/November 2019.

    The TEG report provides technical advice to the Commission on: (i) the minimum ESG disclosure requirements for all benchmarks, except interest rates and currency benchmarks, and specific ESG disclosure requirements for EU CTBs and EU PABs; and (ii) the minimum technical requirements for the methodology of EU CTBs and EU PABs. In addition, the report includes recommendations on other areas of work that are connected to the benchmark ESG disclosures, such as the proposed EU Classification System of Sustainable Activities (i.e. the EU Taxonomy) and changes to the disclosure requirements in the Markets in Financial Instruments package to take into account ESG disclosures.

    View the report.
  • European Banking Authority Publishes Strategic Focus Areas for 2020
    09/27/2019

    The European Banking Authority has published its 2020 Work Programme. The Programme details six strategic areas of focus for 2020 and these are:
     
    1. Support the development of the risk reduction package and the implementation of the global standards in the EU. The EBA will work on developing level 2 legislation required by the revised Capital Requirements Regulation and Directive, the revised Bank Recovery & Resolution Directive and the new Covered Bonds Directive and Investment Firm Regulation and related Directive (the latter two have not yet entered into force). The EBA will continue to work on the implementation of the market risk requirements, following the finalization of the Basel Committee on Banking Standard's fundamental review of the trading book (FRTB). In particular, in 2020, the EBA anticipates implementing the reporting requirement and certain aspects of the FRTB revisions for the internal model approach and for the treatment of non-trading book positions subject to FX or commodity risk. Another priority will be finalization of the EBA's roadmap for the internal ratings-based approach for calculating minimum capital requirements for credit risk.
    2. Providing efficient methodologies and tools for supervisory convergence and stress testing. The EBA intends to consult on Pillar 2 changes during 2020 and will conduct the 2020 stress test for EU banks.
    Read more.
  • European Economic and Social Committee Publishes Opinion on Sustainable Finance Reforms
    09/19/2019

    The European Economic and Social Committee has published an Opinion on the European Commission’s Reflection Paper, “Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030”, which was published earlier this year. The Commission’s Reflection Paper considers Europe’s competitive advantages in delivering sustainable development, assesses the EU and global climate change challenges that must still be tackled, and sets out policy changes and proposals that will enable the EU to adhere to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

    Read more.
  • Final EU Guidelines on EU Credit Rating Agency Disclosure Obligations and Advice on Sustainable Finance in the Credit Rating Market
    07/18/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published two documents relating to sustainable finance in the credit rating sector. The first document is technical advice for the European Commission, responding to the Commission's mandate in its 2018 Action Plan for Sustainable Finance for ESMA to assess the current practice within the credit rating market concerning sustainability considerations. ESMA has assessed the extent to which environmental, social or governance factors are considered within credit rating agencies' credit assessments. ESMA concludes that CRAs are including ESG factors in their ratings, but it is difficult to assess the extent to which each factor is being considered in the various asset classes. ESMA warns that credit ratings should not be understood as providing an opinion on sustainability characteristics of an issuer or entity and recommends that the CRA Regulation should not be revised to require the consideration of sustainability characteristics in CRAs' credit assessments. However, ESMA advises that it may be appropriate to update the disclosure requirements in the CRA Regulation to enhance the transparency on how CRAs are considering the ESG factors.

    Read more.
  • EU Seeks Feedback on Taxonomy for Sustainable Economic Activities
    07/04/2019

    The European Commission's Technical Expert Group on sustainable finance has launched a call for feedback on the taxonomy for sustainable economic activities. The TEG's Report on Taxonomy was published on June 18, 2019, alongside the Commission's Guidelines on reporting climate-related information, an interim TEG report on EU climate benchmarks and a TEG report on an EU green bond standard. The Report on Taxonomy links to the EU's proposed Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment.

    Feedback on the TEG's Report on Taxonomy should be submitted by September 13, 2019.

    View the Report on Taxonomy.

    View further details on the call for feedback.

    View the Commission's Guidelines on reporting climate-related information.
  • UK Government Publishes Green Finance Strategy
    07/02/2019

    The U.K. Government has published a Green Finance Strategy for transforming finance for a greener future. The Green Finance Strategy has two objectives: to align private sector financial flows with clean, environmentally sustainable and resilient growth, supported by Government action and to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.K. financial sector. The Strategy document states that these objectives will be met by:
     
    1. Greening finance: ensuring current and future financial risks and opportunities from climate and environmental factors are integrated into mainstream financial decision-making, and that markets for green financial products are robust in nature. Some of the action committed to by the Government includes: (i) announcing an expectation for all listed companies and large asset owners to disclose by 2022 (as per the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board's Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures); (ii) establishing a joint taskforce with U.K. regulators, chaired by Government, to examine the most effective way to approach disclosure and exploring the appropriateness of mandatory reporting; (iii) clarifying responsibilities for the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Policy Committee to have regard to the Paris Agreement when carrying out their duties. The Government states that it will publish an interim report by the end of 2020, which will include an assessment of these steps.
    Read more.
  • European Securities and Markets Authority Issues Survey on Short-Term Pressure Imposed by the Financial Sector
    06/24/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority is seeking responses to its survey examining short-term pressure on corporations from the financial sector. The survey forms part of an investigation prompted by the European Commission into how short-termism in market practices may be inhibiting the EU’s progress towards a sustainable economy. ESMA’s survey is aimed at investors, issuers, management companies of undertakings for the collective investment in transferable securities, self-managed UCITS investment companies, alternative investment fund managers and the trade associations of financial market participants. Responses to the questionnaire must be submitted by July 29, 2019.

    Read more.
  • New EU Guidelines on Disclosure of Climate-Related Information
    06/18/2019

    The European Commission has published new, non-binding Guidelines on reporting climate-related information. The new Guidelines are supplementary to the guidelines issued by the Commission in 2017 on reporting non-financial information. The new Guidelines are intended to assist large public entities (with over 500 employees) to report climate-related information under the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive. The new Guidelines incorporate the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board's taskforce on climate-related financial disclosures, taking into account the EU's forthcoming taxonomy on sustainable activities. The new Guidelines include guidance on reporting of climate-related information related to business models, key performance indicators, risks and their management. Further guidelines for banks and insurance companies are set out in the annex.

    Read more.
  • Regulators Issue Recommendations on Sustainable Finance in Emerging Markets
    06/05/2019

    The Growth and Emerging Markets Committee, a committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions that aims to promote the development and efficiency of emerging securities and futures markets, has published a series of recommendations on the development of sustainable finance in emerging markets and the role that securities regulators play in this arena. The report also contains an overview of sustainability-related regulatory initiatives in emerging markets and market trends arising in the sustainability sector.

    Read more.
  • International Task Force Report Shows Further Progress Needed for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
    06/05/2019

    The Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures has issued its 2019 status report outlining progress on adoption of the TCFD disclosure recommendations for improved climate-related financial disclosures by companies. The TCFD was established by the Financial Stability Board in 2015 with the aim of managing climate-related risk in markets. In 2017, it published a set of voluntary disclosure recommendations for companies to provide information on their climate-related financial risks. The recommendations are structured around four areas: (i) governance; (ii) strategy; (iii) risk management; and (iv) metrics and targets.

    Read more.
  • Chair Appointed for EU Coordination Network on Sustainability
    05/23/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has announced that Ana María Martínez-Pina Garcia, (Vice-Chair of the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores in Spain) has been appointed as Chair of ESMA's new Coordination Network on Sustainability.

    View the announcement.
  • EU Technical Advice on Incorporating Sustainability Factors Into EU Regulation
    05/03/2019

    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published its final report and technical advice to the European Commission on incorporating sustainability risks and factors into European regulation. The European Commission sought advice from ESMA and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority in July 2018 on the introduction of environmental, social and governance considerations into the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the Insurance Distribution Directive, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive and the Solvency II Directive. The introduction of sustainability considerations into European regulation sits against the backdrop of the European Commission's Sustainability Action Plan, which aims to encourage sustainable investment and mitigate climate change risk in line with the 2016 Paris Agreement and UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In response, ESMA opened consultations seeking input from stakeholders, which closed on February 19, 2019.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Publishes Statements on Managing Climate Change Risks
    04/15/2019

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a Policy Statement and related Supervisory Statement on enhancing banks’ and insurers’ approaches to managing the financial risks from climate change. The statements are in response to the PRA’s consultation paper published in 2018 which sought feedback on the draft Supervisory Statement. The Statements are relevant to all U.K. insurance and reinsurance firms, banks, building societies and PRA-designated investment firms.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulators Host the First Meeting of the New Climate Financial Risk Forum
    03/13/2019

    The Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority have published press releases following the first meeting of the Climate Financial Risk Forum on March 8, 2019. The CFRF is a joint forum established by the PRA and FCA in late 2018. The CFRF aims to encourage financial sector approaches towards managing the financial risks from climate change as well as supporting green finance. The CFRF will develop practical tools and approaches to reduce the barriers for firms looking to adopt a strategy for minimizing financial risks from climate change. The regulators are concerned with both the impact of climate change itself and the transition to supporting a low carbon economy. Both the FCA and the PRA consulted in late 2018 on the impact of climate change. The PRA consulted on a draft Supervisory Statement on managing the financial risks from climate change and the FCA consulted on climate change and green finance and the potential changes to its regulatory approach to these issues. The FCA consultation set out specific actions that the FCA intends to take in the short term in four areas - capital markets disclosures, public reporting requirements, green finance and pensions.

    Read more.
  • Report of the Technical Expert Group Subgroup of the European Commission on Green Bond Standard: Proposal for an EU Green Bond Standard
    03/06/2019

    In its Interim Report on green bonds, the Technical Expert Group has made a proposal for an EU Green Bond Standard. Green bonds are bonds specifically earmarked to be used for climate-related and environmental projects. The aim of the consultation was, in light of the European Commission’s Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth published in March 2018, to create a standard that would further improve the credibility of green bonds and help the EU market mature.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Requests Report on Potential Undue Short-Term Pressure by Financial Service Participants on Corporations
    02/06/2019

    The European Commission issued a call for advice to each of the European Supervisory Authorities requesting evidence and possible advice on potential undue short-term pressure by financial service participants on corporations. The call for advice relates to Action 10 of the EU's Sustainable Finance Action Plan, which aims to foster transparency and long-termism in financial and economic activity by exploring possible drivers of undue short-termism. The Commission wants the ESA's report to: (i) provide evidence of any short-termism and, if any, the consequences thereof; (ii) assess the drivers of such short-termism, including the effects of regulation on financial market participants, for example, the guidance on remuneration practices; (iii) identify existing regulations that either mitigate or exacerbate short-term pressures; and (iv) evaluate the need for regulatory or policy action and propose specific areas where action is needed.

    The Commission considers that pressure of this kind could lead corporations to overlook long-term risks and opportunities, such as those related to climate change and other factors related to sustainability. Companies facing short-term pressure could, as a result, forgo investment in areas important for a successful transition towards a sustainable economy. The ESAs are due to publish their report in December 2019.

    View the call for advice.
  • International Organization of Securities Commissions Consults on Sustainable Finance in Emerging Markets
    02/01/2019

    The International Organization of Securities Commissions has launched a consultation on sustainable finance in emerging markets and the role of securities regulators. The consultation discusses the challenges affecting the development of sustainable finance in capital markets, focusing on sustainable assets in emerging markets and measures to facilitate market development in this area. Responses to the consultation can be submitted by April 1, 2019.

    Read more.
  • UK Regulator Considers Potential Regulatory Refinements for Climate Change
    10/15/2018

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has published a Discussion Paper on climate change and green finance in which it calls for comment on potential changes to its regulatory approach in these areas. The Discussion Paper sets out specific action that the FCA intends to take in the short term in four focus areas - capital markets disclosures, public reporting requirements, green finance and pensions.

    First, the FCA is considering whether the regulatory approach to disclosures by issuers in the capital markets should be amended. In particular, the FCA is asking for comments on: (i) the difficulties that issuers may have in determining materiality of climate-related issues such that a specific disclosure would be warranted; (ii) whether investors would benefit from greater comparability of disclosures; (iii) whether further prescribed requirements on climate-related disclosures should be introduced to facilitate more consistent disclosures by issuers. This final point includes whether the introduction of a "comply or explain" approach to the Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures would facilitate more effective markets.

    Read more.
  • UK Prudential Regulator Consults on Managing Financial Risks from Climate Change
    10/15/2018

    The Prudential Regulation Authority has published a consultation paper on a draft Supervisory Statement on managing the financial risks from climate change. The consultation follows the PRA's publication in September 2018 of its report "Transition in thinking: The impact of climate change on the U.K. banking sector." The consultation paper is relevant to banks, insurers, re-insurers, building societies and PRA-designated investment firms. The PRA wants firms to take a strategic approach to financial risks from climate change by taking into account current and credible risks and identifying actions needed now to mitigate existing and future risks.

    Read more.
  • Prudential Regulator Reports on Climate-Related Financial Risks for the UK Banking Sector
    09/26/2018

    The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority has published a report entitled "Transition in thinking: The impact of climate change on the U.K. banking sector".

    The purpose of the report is to: (i) examine the financial risks from climate change that impact PRA regulated banks, building societies and designated investment firms; (ii) assess how those entities are responding to and managing the financial risks from climate change; and (iii) assist those entities in understanding the PRA's supervisory approach to the financial risks from climate change. The report will also be used to inform the Bank of England's wider work to assess the system-wide financial risks from climate change.

    Read more.
  • International Task Force Report Shows Momentum Building for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
    09/26/2018

    The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures has issued a status report outlining progress on adoption of the TCFD disclosure recommendations issued in June 2017. The TCFD was established by the Financial Stability Board in 2015 and its 2017 recommendations provide a voluntary framework for companies to develop more effective climate-related financial disclosures through their existing reporting processes. The recommendations are structured around four areas: (i) governance; (ii) strategy; (iii) risk management; and (iv) metrics and targets.

    Read more.
  • European Commission Proposes Legislative Package on Sustainable Finance
    05/24/2018

    The European Commission has published a package of legislative reforms on sustainable finance. The aim of the package of reforms, which form part of the Commission's broader Capital Markets Union initiative, is to ensure that environmental, social and governance considerations are consistently integrated into the investment and advisory process across sectors. The proposed measures comprise:

    (i) a proposed Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment. This will establish an EU-wide classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities and ensure that investment strategies are oriented towards economic activities that genuinely contribute to achieving environmental objectives. The proposed Regulation will empower the European Commission to adopt delegated acts to specify technical screening criteria to assess the contribution of a given economic activity to a particular environmental objective as substantial. A list of six environmental objectives is set out in the proposed regulation, namely: climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources; transition to a circular economy, waste prevention and recycling; pollution prevention and control; and protection of healthy ecosystems (which includes biodiversity conservation).

    Read more.
  • Financial Stability Board Publishes its 2016 Priorities
    02/27/2016

    The Financial Stability Board published its letter, dated February 22, 2016, to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in advance of the G20 meeting in Shanghai. The letter sets out the FSB's priorities for 2016 which are: (i) to support the full and consistent implementation of the agreed regulatory reforms by reporting on progress  and assessing whether reforms result in their intended outcomes; (ii) analyzing structural vulnerabilities in asset management activities, including developing policy responses on liquidity mismatch in funds, leverage within funds, operational risks in transferring investment mandates and securities lending activities of funds and asset managers; (iii) to publish a peer review on the implementation of the shadow banking framework; (iv) reducing misconduct risk, in particular, the role of incentives in preventing misconduct; (v) addressing the decline in correspondent banking (about which the FSB published a four-point plan in 2015); (vi) disclosure of climate-related financial risks; (vii) CCP resilience and recovery; (viii) assessing macro-prudential policy frameworks and tools; (ix) completing the regulatory capital framework for banks; (x) assessing implementation of resolution reforms including the total loss absorbing capacity (TLAC) framework published at the end of 2015; (xi) removing legal and regulatory barriers to reporting of derivatives trades; and (xii) assessing the implications of financial technology for financial stability. The G20 published a Communiqué following the Shanghai meeting which refers to the FSB's work and notes the progress made on implementing financial regulatory reforms.
     
    View the FSB letter.

    View the G20 Communique.