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A series of briefings that take a bite-size look at international trends in different jurisdictions, drawing on Baker McKenzie’s expert financial services practitioners with local market knowledge.

This edition takes a bite-size look at the different rates of progress of environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulation and voluntary standards across the European Union, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. The 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change specifically identified finance as having a key role in mitigating the effects of global warming, as large-scale investments are needed to significantly cut emissions. Nor, of course, are financial institutions themselves immune from the effects of climate change, as their prudential soundness and ability to meet long-term commitments will be jeopardized if the value of their capital is impacted. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a significant impetus to the adoption of ESG regulation and voluntary standards, although the industry’s progress is being slowed by a lack of common and consistent international standards over disclosure and classification. What was, initially, (largely) voluntary is becoming essential to win business and is, increasingly (especially in Europe), subject to legal and regulatory imperative, as exemplified by the number of jurisdictions proposing to make mandatory the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

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Karen Man is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services group, leading the non-contentious Financial Services Regulatory practice. Her clients include global, Chinese and local banks, fund managers, brokers/dealers, money service operators and fintech firms. Karen is admitted to practice in Hong Kong, the UK, and Australia.

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Akiko Hosokawa has approximately 20 years of experience assisting clients in various banking and finance and general corporate matters. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Akiko worked for a major Japanese insurance company. She has been a partner since January 2006. She has experience working at Baker McKenzie’s London office, and was seconded to Goldman Sachs (through the London office) and the Financial Services Agency of Japan. She is an adjunct financial law instructor at the University of Tsukuba Law School since 2010 and is also a visiting professor at Chuo University's Graduate School of Strategic Management from 2012 to 2016. She has co-authored several publications related to her field, including Basis and Operation of the New Trust Law in 2007.

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Jennifer L. Klass serves as the Co-chair of Baker McKenzie's Financial Regulation and Enforcement Practice in North America. Jen is an experienced investment management lawyer with particular focus on investment adviser regulation and the convergence of investment advisory and brokerage services. She regularly represents clients before the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), both in seeking interpretative guidance and in managing examination and enforcement matters. Jen is a leading practitioner in digital investment advice and the use of FinTech in the asset management industry. Jen provides practical advice that is informed by her experience as Vice President and Associate Counsel at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she represented the asset management and private wealth management businesses.

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Amy serves as the Co-chair of Baker McKenzie’s North American Financial Regulation and Enforcement Practice, which provides our clients with a full range of regulatory advice and enforcement counseling. Previously, Amy has served as chief litigation counsel at the US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Philadelphia regional office and managed a team of lawyers overseeing a wide variety of enforcement matters and investigations.

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Caitlin McErlane advises asset managers, banks, major corporates, exchanges, clearing houses and payment institutions on navigating UK and EU financial services regulation. She has particular experience in advising clients on operating in compliance with ongoing regulatory developments, including MiFID II, EMIR, the Investment Firms Regulation, ESG reforms, AIFMD and the Market Abuse Regulation.

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Steffie Illegems is an Associate in Baker McKenzie's Antwerp office.

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Wataru Inagaki is a member of the Banking & Finance group in Baker McKenzie's Tokyo office. Prior to joining the Firm, he worked for a law firm focusing on domestic corporate law.

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Michaël Tiralongo is a member of the Tokyo office's Banking & Finance Practice Group. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, he worked in the financial services regulatory department of a major French law firm and in-house in the asset management arm of a global financial institution. He is fluent in Japanese.

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Olivier Van den broeke is an Associate in Baker McKenzie's Antwerp office.

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Kimberly Everitt is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie London office.

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John F. Lawlor is an attorney in the North America Banking, Finance and Major Projects Practice Group in Baker & McKenzie's Chicago office. Mr. Lawlor has experience representing lenders and borrowers in many types of complex financings, including senior and subordinated debt, secured and unsecured, investment grade and non-investment grade debt financings and cross-border financings.

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