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Committed to sustainability, inclusivity efforts

The ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) has reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability, while also ensuring that the gains from capital market development would benefit all ASEAN member states and assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACMF convened its 36th ACMF Chairs’ Meeting yesterday hosted virtually by the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC).

The meeting took note of the positive reception to the launch of Version 1 of the ASEAN Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (ASEAN Taxonomy) on November 10, 2021 by the ASEAN Taxonomy Board (ATB). The ACMF together with the ASEAN Insurance Regulators Meeting (AIRM), ASEAN Senior Level Committee on Financial Integration (SLC) and the ASEAN Working Committee on Capital Market Development (WC-CMD) established the ATB in March 2021.

Following the release of Version 1, the ATB will undertake targetted consultations with stakeholders from both official and private sectors, with the input received being used in developing the next version of the ASEAN Taxonomy.

As of end of February 2022, issuances amounting to USD22.8 billion have been issued under the ASEAN Green, Social and Sustainability Bond Standards, introduced in 2017 and 2018.

Towards this end, the ACMF is also looking forward to the development of the ASEAN Sustainability-Linked Bond Standards as well as the ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards.

The virtual meeting in progress. PHOTO: ACMF

At the same time, the ASEAN regulators welcomed the progress being made in the ACMF Market Development Programme (A-MDP). In particular, the meeting noted the successful participation of over 40 senior-level officials in the training programme on Sustainable Finance held in December 2021.

The training programme was the first part of a collaboration with the Programme on International Financial Systems (PIFS) of Harvard Law School with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) support. PIFS will also provide training on Fintech and Crypto in the first half of 2022.

“Inclusivity is a prime goal of SERC’s Chairmanship of the ACMF,” said SERC Director General Sou Socheat. “We want to ensure that all ASEAN member states can benefit from developments in the capital markets through capacity building as well as information exchange.”

Intensifying capacity building is one of the key priorities under the ACMF Action Plan 2021 – 2025, which also includes fostering growth and recovery with sustainability as a strategic objective.

On facilitating transparency and information exchange, ACMF was pleased with the progress in efforts to create a one-stop knowledge hub on sustainable finance in the ACMF website, as well as the significant progress in developing the ASEAN Collective Investment Schemes (ASEAN CIS) Digital Repository which will become a platform to promote and publicise cross-border offerings of fund in ASEAN.

The meeting also noted the Corporate Governance Awarding Ceremony, expected to be held in September 2022. The meeting also acknowledged the progress of CG Assessment as discussed and agreed in the 36th ACMF Chairs’ Meeting and also the effort taken by the ACMF to strengthen the governance of the implementation of CG Assessment by developing a TOR.

The meeting welcomed the initiatives to include the recent update of the members in the next ACMF Chairs’ Meeting’s agenda, especially the sharing about the development of the digital asset in the ACMF members.

ACMF expressed its gratitude to the Asian ADB for providing ACMF with technical assistance as well as expert guidance to foster capital market development throughout the ASEAN region.

ACMF also thanked Sustainable Finance Institute Asia (SFIA) and the Industry Advisory Panel Working Groups under the Joint Sustainable Finance Working Group for their support and effort in developing ASEAN’s sustainable capital market.