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In brief

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 latest environment, social and governance (ESG) developments in Brazil, the European Union, Belgium, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. 


Key takeaways

Since we looked at ESG in our July 2021 edition, significant progress has been made internationally on creating a regulatory framework. 

  • As was the case then, there are still widely different rates of progress, but international standards are now firmly entrenched and many jurisdictions besides the EU have either enacted compulsory rules on reporting and disclosure or are in the process of doing so. 
  • We are now seeing actual implementation and firms dealing with the complexities, such as over how green to label funds. 
  • Other areas coming to the fore include a focus on the quality of ESG data from corporates on which financial institutions rely to make their disclosures. 
  • That said, leaders in the financial sector are without doubt most concerned about the risk of litigation and enforcement action arising out of allegations of green washing. Terms such as “green hushing” and “green bleaching” have emerged where businesses choose to remain silent about or downplay their firms’ or products’ ESG attributes. The US, where regulation is enforcement-led, is out in front but other jurisdictions are starting to see cases being brought. 
  • While ESG potentially brings financial institutions opportunities to grow their business, the risks require careful governance and management.

Click here to access “Bite-size Briefings”.

Author

Stephanie Magnus co-heads the Asia Pacific Financial Institutions Group and heads up the Financial Services Regulatory Practice Group in Singapore. Stephanie is ranked Band 1 for FinTech in Singapore by Chambers FinTech 2020. She is also ranked as a Leading Individual for Financial Services Regulatory: Local Firms in Singapore by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020. She is recognised as a leading lawyer for Banking & Finance: Regulatory in Singapore by Chambers Asia Pacific and Chambers Global 2020. Stephanie was quoted in Chambers Asia Pacific for her "timely, practical and business-oriented" advice, with a "deep understanding of the regulatory regime." She is also recognised as "very business-savvy and brilliant every time," and is admired for her "very strong grasp of the legal issues from both a technical and practical perspective."

Author

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.

Author

Benja is a partner in the Bangkok office of Baker McKenzie. She joined Baker McKenzie in 2001 and is specialized in the areas of financial products including but not limited to derivatives, structured products, structured finance, wealth management, private banking, fund management and debt capital market, especially in regard to the regulatory matters. She has been also acting as a Thai legal counsel for ISDA Association and regularly advises international banks, capital markets intermediaries, fund managers, insurance companies and other financial institutions on financial services compliance and regulatory matters. She has been recognized by several of the world's leading legal directories.

Author

Caitlin McErlane is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services & Regulatory Group in the London office. Caitlin's practice focuses on advising a range of global financial institutions on complex and high value regulatory matters. She advises banks, major corporates, payment institutions and asset managers on navigating UK and EU financial services regulation. She has particular experience in advising clients on regulatory implementation projects, day-to-day compliance issues, and regulatory issues arising in the context of large-scale transactions. She also expertise in the areas of banking and wholesale financial markets regulation, in particular in the FX and fixed income space, alongside experience advising market infrastructure providers, including major international exchanges, trading platforms, clearing systems and payment services providers, on a variety of compliance issues. Caitlin is also a member of the Baker's ESG and sustainability taskforce, and advises a range of clients on the drafting and implementation of ESG policies and the implications of becoming a signatory to the UNPRI and the Stewardship Code. Caitlin is an authority on regulatory reforms in the sustainability space and sits on a number of trade association working groups. She has recently been interviewed by Climate Action on her work and is a frequent speaker on the subject.

Author

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.

Author

Renata Campetti Amaral joined the firm in 2002 and became a partner in 2013. She is the head of the firm’s Climate Change, Environmental Law and Sustainability group in Brazil, and the leader of Ablfs McKfnzif’s global climate change group in Latin America. Is also the coordinator of the sustainability initiatives conducted by the office’s B-Green Committee. Renata assists the major players in the Brazilian market in Nature-bases Solution (NbS) projects, transaction of carbon credits, implementation of decarbonization strategies and carbon-related advocacy and regulatory matters. Renata leads several of the largest environmental and regularization cases in the country. She has extensive experience in sustainability matters, as well as in managing crises and negotiating with stakeholders. Advises on negotiating with authorities; judicial and administrative litigation; reviewing environmental aspects of institutions and financial operations; drafting environmental provisions in contracts and other commercial operations. Renata has extensive experience in dealing with environmental management, legal auditing and other organizational practices; regulatory and institutional analysis and environmental control; negotiation and implementation of environmental remediation plans; environmental licensing; legal aspects of biodiversity protection; environmental crisis management; development of preventive policies and strategies for companies; negotiation and drafting of contracts for the purchase and sale of carbon credits and acting in transactions related to various aspects of the energy transition.
*Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

Author

Olivier Van den broeke is a senior associate in the Financial Services Regulatory & Insurance Practice Group in the Antwerp office. He joined Baker McKenzie in 2013.

Author

Shaneil Shah is a senior associate in the Financial Services Regulatory Group in the London office.
Shaneil provides strategic regulatory advice to clients across the regulated sector, with a particular focus on the regulations applicable to fund managers, investment firms, market infrastructure, banks and insurers. He advises clients throughout their regulatory lifecycle, from pre-authorisation, through to business expansion and on responding to new regulatory developments. Shaneil also advises on contentious matters, including investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by financial regulators, internal regulatory investigations and financial services disputes.
Shaneil has particular experience advising clients on complex regulatory implementation projects, and has worked closely with a number of asset managers to launch novel products for both retail and wholesale investors. He also advises a wide range of clients on developments in ESG regulations, including the EU’s SFDR and Taxonomy Regulations and the UK’s ESG regime.
Shaneil has undertaken secondments to the London branch of a global investment bank (focusing on contentious matters) and to Baker McKenzie in Hong Kong.

Author

Richard Powell is Lead Knowledge Lawyer for Baker McKenzie's Financial Institutions Industry Group where he is responsible for legal content projects, training and knowledge initiatives. Previously he was a member of the UK Financial Conduct Authority's Enforcement Division where he advised on regulatory cases. He has also been an editor of Bloomberg Law's UK Financial Services Law Journal.

Author

Kimberly Everitt is Baker McKenzie's knowledge lawyer for Financial Services Regulation & Enforcement, covering the EMEA region, and brings over a decade of experience to the team in both knowledge and fee-earning roles. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Kim held roles specializing in contentious financial services regulation knowledge, and her fee-earning roles covered non-contentious regulation in the private equity and general financial services sectors.

Author

Aaron Dauber is a Registered Foreign Lawyer and the Knowledge Lawyer for Baker McKenzie's non-contentious Financial Services Regulatory practice. He is responsible for monitoring and training on regulatory change, legal content projects and other knowledge initiatives to support the firm and our clients. Aaron's experience includes over 13 years' as an in-house counsel responsible for legal support to businesses across the Asia Pacific region including Japan and Australia with a global systemically important bank.

Author

Yuko Watanabe is a member of the Banking & Finance group in the Firm's Tokyo office.

Author

Ann Srikiatkhachorn is an Associate in Baker McKenzie, Bangkok office.

Author

Bhalarp Vallayapet is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie, Bangkok office.

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