The next AMIC conference will take place on 27 November in London and will be hosted by BlackRock. The conference will feature panel discussions led by industry practitioners on the development of the STS Securitisation market, the pension gap, PEPP and the effect of negative interest rates and a discussion on the possibility of an EU Ecolabel for funds. All market participants are welcome to attend for free however registration in advance is essential.
Speech by Colm Kincaid, Director of Securities and Markets Supervision at the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), on the importance of Transparency in Securities Markets and the impact of the phenomenon of debt and equity decoupling on financial markets.
The Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) has published a Financial Stability Note which uses loan-level data from three major Irish banks to examine their progress in resolving the non-performing loans (NPLs) of Irish SMEs.
The research highlights the recent progress of Irish retail banks in resolving SME NPLs and provides a breakdown of NPL balances by loan and borrower characteristics. The note also examines the relationship between current NPL ratios and recent developments in economic conditions at the level of counties and sectors. These results show that NPL ratios are best suited for analysing the health of bank portfolios, not economic conditions in a particular sector or region.
Speech by Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on the Future of Regulation and how this requires a bold approach and the full use of tools from the Parliament. He also noted a renewed focus on simplicity, clarity and real-world effectiveness.
The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) has published A Sustainable and Responsible Investment Guide for Central Banks’ Portfolio Management.
The guide is an approach aimed at central banks that wish to adopt Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) practices. It builds on the results of an SRI portfolio management survey among NGFS members and concludes with case studies of first-hand experiences by some NGFS members. Among the five SRI strategies identified in the guide, the most prominent are green bond investments and negative screening for equity and corporate bond holdings.
The EU, together with relevant authorities from Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, India, Kenya, and Morocco, have launched the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF).
This initiative is part of the international efforts to meet the Paris Agreement commitments, which require trillions of investments in sustainable infrastructure over the next decades – with Europe alone needing additional financing in the range of €175 - €290 billion per year.
The launch of the IPSF is considered essential to stimulate investment and redirect capital flows towards climate objectives at the scale required. It will act as a forum for facilitating exchanges and, where relevant, coordinating efforts on initiatives and approaches to environmentally sustainable finance, while respecting national and regional contexts.
It will focus on environmentally sustainable initiatives in particular in the areas of taxonomies, disclosures, standards and labels, which are fundamental for investors to identify and seize green investment opportunities worldwide.
Corporate Governance and Stewardship
Speech by Robert Ophèle, Chairman of the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), on corporate governance, shareholders engagement and on the relevance of reinforcing shareholder dialogue by structuring it in a transparent manner.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a Feedback Statement (FS) on a regulatory framework for effective stewardship following a Discussion Paper on the same topic issued in January 2019.
In the FS, the FCA says they agree with the view of most respondents that they should not impose further stewardship-related requirements on life insurers and asset managers for now and should allow firms to adapta to the new rules on shareholder engagement which took effect in June.
Summary of responses and next steps include, in particular:
-FCA to examine how asset owners set and communicate their stewardship objectives and we will take actions to promote arrangements between asset owners, asset managers and service providers that support these objectives
-FCA to help to address regulatory, informational and structural barriers to effective stewardship practices, including by consulting on rule changes to enhance issuers’ climate change disclosures;
-FCA to consider further the role of firms’ culture, governance and leadership in both;
the management of climate risks and the exercise of stewardship; and
-FCA to pursue a number of actions to promote better disclosure of firms’ stewardship practices and outcomes.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has launched its Revised UK Stewardship Code. The new Code substantially raises expectations for how money is invested on behalf of UK savers and pensioners. In particular, the new Code establishes a clear benchmark for stewardship as the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society.
Key changes in the new Code include:
-An extended focus that includes asset owners, such as pension funds and insurance companies, and service providers as well as asset managers. This will help align the approach of the whole investment community in the interest of end-investors and beneficiaries;
-A requirement to report annually on stewardship activity and its outcomes. Signatories’ reports will show what has actually been done in the previous year, and what the outcome was, including their engagement with the assets they invest in, their voting records and how they have protected and enhanced the value of their investments. This greater transparency will allow clients to see how their interests are being served;
-Signatories will be expected to take environmental, social and governance factors, including climate change, into account and to ensure their investment decisions are aligned with the needs of their clients;
-Signatories are now expected to explain how they have exercised stewardship across asset classes beyond listed equity, such as fixed income, private equity and infrastructure, and in investments outside the UK; and
-Signatories are required to explain their organisation’s purpose, investment beliefs, strategy and culture and how these enable them to practice stewardship. They are also expected to show how they are demonstrating this commitment through appropriate governance, resourcing and staff incentives.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published an issues note on regulatory issues of stablecoins. The paper was delivered to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors for their meeting in Washington.
The FSB will submit a consultative report to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in April 2020, and a final report in July 2020.
Speech by Fernando Restoy, Chairman, Financial Stability Institute, Bank for International Settlements (BIS), on the challenges of Regulating FinTech.
In the presentation he discussed current developments in the fintech domain and related policy challenges as well as an FSI study we are now conducting on national and global policy initiatives to adjust existing financial regulation to new activities and players.
The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published a report that summarizes responses to a consultation on pre-cessation issues for LIBOR and certain other interbank offered rates (IBORs).
The responses to the consultation indicate that a majority of market participants would generally not want to continue referencing a covered IBOR in existing or new derivatives contracts following a statement from a supervisor that it is no longer representative of the underlying market. However, the consultation did not reveal a consensus on how to respond to such a statement in the context of fallbacks for derivatives contracts.
To enable a smooth transition from EONIA to €STR, the Working Group on risk-free rates has made available communication material which interested parties can use in their own communication and education efforts. This communication toolkit currently consists of frequently asked questions; a standard set of slides; and a checklist.
The Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates wrote to domestic (Prudential Regulation Authority and Financial Conduct Authority) and international (European Commission and Basel Committee on Banking Supervision) authorities regarding regulatory barriers to transition away from LIBOR.
These letters request that the issues raised are considered and concrete actions are taken where necessary to ensure a smooth transition reducing risks to safety and soundness from continued reliance on a benchmark that is expected to cease at the end of 2021.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published an Opinion on the regulatory treatment of securitisations of non-performing exposures (NPE).
The Opinion recommends various amendments to the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) as well as to the Securitisation Regulation to remove the identified constraints.
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