Despite the impacts of a global economic downturn and the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 ASEAN Capital Markets Forum under the Chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC) fulfilled its commitment to promoting sustainable development, inclusivity and resiliency.
The ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) in 2022 fulfilled its commitment to promoting sustainable development, inclusivity and resiliency despite the impacts of a global economic downturn and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hosted by the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC), ACMF on October 27 convened the 37th ACMF Chairs’ Meeting at the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra hotel in the capital.
ACMF endorsed and launched the ASEAN Sustainability-Linked Bond Standards – which was a Priority Economic Deliverable for the financial sector under the 2022 Chairmanship of Cambodia – and the ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards.
Information on these two standards is available on the ACMF website – www.theacmf.org.
The brief of the two standards will be published in The Phnom Penh Post in December.
The launch of the two standards will support ASEAN in narrowing the gap towards the 2030 Agenda in combating climate change.
In addition, their endorsement indicated the group’s commitment to meeting the Strategic Objectives of the ACMF Action Plan 2021-2025.
ACMF has always placed sustainable development as a top priority mission – and on the journey of promoting sustainable development, it has made remarkable progress.
As of October 21, 2022, issuances amounting to US$29.82 billion have been issued under the ASEAN Green, Social and Sustainability Bond Standards, which were introduced in 2017 and 2018.
The launch of the ASEAN Sustainability-Linked Bond Standards and the ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards will widen the range of sustainable investments in ASEAN, thereby accelerating sustainable development across the region.
With the strong support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Cambodia will have ASEAN Green Bonds in the market, and while yet another milestone for a young market like Cambodia’s, also represents the Kingdom’s commitment to meeting Sustainable Development Goals.
ACMF has provided strong and active support for the development of the ASEAN Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance (ASEAN Taxonomy) Version 2.
Version 1 was completed in November 2021.
The ASEAN Taxonomy will enable an orderly transition and foster sustainable finance adoption by the ASEAN Member States, and will serve as a common language across the different jurisdictions to communicate and coordinate on labelling for economic activities and financial instruments.
The ASEAN Taxonomy has its beginnings at the 6th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (AFMGM) on October 2, 2020.
The meeting committed to enhancing the cohesiveness of the finance track for sustainable finance, stating: “We commit to furthering a cohesive sustainable finance agenda cutting across banking, capital markets and insurance areas at the [ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Meeting] AFMM and AFMGM respectively, with greater coordination amongst the relevant ASEAN working committees.”
Thereafter, the ASEAN Taxonomy Board – comprising the ACMF, ASEAN Insurance Regulators’ Meeting (AIRM), ASEAN Senior Level Committee on Financial Integration (SLC) and ASEAN Working Committee on Capital Market Development (WC-CMD) – was established in March 2021.
Inputs received by the ASEAN Taxonomy Board following stakeholder consultations on Version 1, which involved both the public and private sectors as well as international standards setters, will be used in developing the next version of the ASEAN Taxonomy.
Version 2 of the ASEAN Taxonomy is expected to be published in early 2023.
To further promote sustainable development through promoting sustainability disclosure across ASEAN and to enhance the voice of the region in international standard-settings, ACMF engaged with the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to convey the ASEAN perspective on the draft ISSB standards.
This focused on the areas of interoperability; proportionality in implementation; and the phasing in of industry-specific metrics.
This engagement with the ISSB has laid the foundations for future collaboration and will help ACMF evaluate the feasibility of adopting ISSB standards based on each jurisdiction’s own legal and regulatory arrangements in a way that promotes consistent and comparable sustainability disclosures across ASEAN.
To promote and publicise cross-border offerings of funds and collective investment schemes in the region, ACMF endorsed and launched the ASEAN Collective Investment Schemes (ASEAN CIS) Digital Repository.
To coordinate capacity-building programmes and efforts to optimise resources, and to avoid duplication of programmes, the ACMF established the ACMF Market Development Program (A-MDP), which is currently Co-chaired by the SERC and the State Securities Commission of Vietnam.
A-MDP serves to respond to critical capacity-building needs based on regional priorities, as well as those of member countries or groups of countries on a needs basis.
Every year, under this programme, ACMF members send staff to attend on-the-job training and many other training programmes, although on-the-job training was postponed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the support of ADB, ACMF collaborated with the Program on International Financial Systems (PIFS) of Harvard Law School to provide training for ACMF members in late 2021 and 2022.
In the first meeting of his Chairmanship, HE Sou Socheat, Delegate of the Royal Government in charge as Director-General of the SERC, said: “Inclusivity is a prime goal of SERC’s Chairmanship of the ACMF.
“We want to ensure that all ASEAN member states can benefit from developments in the capital markets through capacity building as well as the exchange of information.”
Thus, despite the pandemic, ACMF still performed very well in terms of capacity building for young regulators.
In relation to the efforts to promote transparency, confidence and governance in ASEAN, the ACMF has extended its collaborations with various partners including ADB and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
ACMF also organises the ASEAN Corporate Governance Awarding ceremony, in which six countries participate – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
While the 2021 awards ceremony was postponed due to the Covid-19pandemic, it is expected to be organised again in December 2022.
SERC plans to assign listed companies in Cambodia to join the next ASEAN Corporate Governance competition, and believes that attending this programme will bring the Kingdom’s capital market to another level.
Throughout the ACMF journey, ADB has been a key development partner, providing crucial technical assistance to ensure the ACMF’s objectives are met and its mission realised.
ACMF has made great progress in 2022 under the Chairmanship of the SERC. In 2023, the Chair passes to Indonesia’s Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) financial services authority, with the Lao Securities Commission Office (LSCO) as Vice-Chair.