ASB Contributes to Charting the Path towards Sustainable Capital Markets in ASEAN

Dong-Wook Lee | Deputy Director Action Learning | Corporate Engagement

Earlier in March this year, the 32nd ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) Chairs’ Meeting was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, to finalize actionable recommendations under the Roadmap for ASEAN Sustainable Capital Markets, the concept of which had been endorsed by the 5th ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting just over a year ago in April 2019. It was during this ACMF Chairs’ Meeting in Hanoi where four students of the Asia School of Business (ASB) presented their findings and recommendations to the heads of capital market regulators in the ASEAN region.

ASB was commissioned by ACMF, with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in the Fall of 2019 to undertake an initiative that would further explore the opportunities for the ACMF to facilitate and mobilize private sector capital for the financing of sustainable projects via the capital markets in ASEAN.

ASB had taken this unique opportunity to allocate the project to its senior class students interested in capital markets and sustainable development. Students from the MBA Class of 2020 – Duncan Marwick (South Africa), Janice Tan Ying (Malaysia), Rajiv Chawla (India), and Zoe Victoria Tate (United Kingdom/Netherlands) – volunteered and were selected to embark on this journey to produce a roadmap as an ‘Action Learning’ project during their 4th Term at ASB.

These four students were on the road attending different platforms in the region to comprehensively engage with high-level stakeholders from all three sectors – public/private/non-profit – so as to gather as much data and insights as possible in formulating a universally-acceptable set of recommendations.

The Roadmap provides a strategic direction and recommendations for the creation of a sustainable asset class in ASEAN to support ASEAN’s sustainable development agenda for the next five years so as to mitigate the social and environmental risks linked to climate change. The document sets out recommendations under four priority areas, namely strengthening foundations, catalysing products, and enabling access to under-served areas, raising awareness and capacity building, and increasing regional connectivity.

Deputy Chief Executive of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC Malaysia), Datuk Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin, thanked ASB and the students for their significant contribution towards the development of the Roadmap. “On behalf of the ACMF, I would like to express my appreciation for the efforts put in by ASB in delivering this collaborative work. It was inspiring to have the students, tomorrow’s leaders of the world, take part in this important ASEAN initiative, which charts the path for the future in which sustainable finance will play a key role.” SC Malaysia is co-chair of the ACMF Sustainable Finance Working Group and served as a facilitator in the development of the Roadmap.

As expected, these findings and recommendations were not something that materialized overnight. For these four students, it was certainly not the typical 3-month ASB Action Learning project conducted in 1 academic term. Due to the extensive and complicated nature of this topic, this initiative was extended through to their 5th and final term before graduation, making it a 7-month endeavor.

Under the continued attention and guidance of ASB’s renowned faculty in Central Banking – Professors Gabriele Ciminelli and Hans Genberg – the students had committed themselves to go above and beyond their required curriculum, taking in significantly added workload to digest their schedules on top of academic studies and post-graduation job search, resulting in the successful delivery of this Roadmap document.

 “This project gave us deep exposure to the highly relevant and urgent topic of sustainable finance, which is a growing area of significant interest to our generation and more to come. The opportunity to engage with global leaders, navigate complex multilateral relations, and present our final report to high-level representatives from the 10 ASEAN member countries provided the team with an unparalleled MBA learning experience that we would not have had otherwise. We are grateful to ACMF, SC Malaysia, ADB, ASB, and all others who provided mentorship and guidance to ensure the delivery of a successful project,”

Duncan Marwick (MBA Class of 2020)

ASB Professor of Finance and Director of Central Banking, Dr. Eli Remolona, congratulated the students and said, “Our students worked hard on this 5-year roadmap. They helped develop it through extensive discussions with major stakeholders. We hope that this will contribute meaningfully to shaping ASEAN capital markets that support a sustainable future.”

The Roadmap was originally planned to be presented at the 6th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting in April this year, but that has been postponed to a later date due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation.

ASB President and Dean, Professor Charles Fine, commented that “ASB is honored to have taken part in this regional initiative and we are truly proud of our students and the faculty who supported them through the School’s Action Learning program. I believe this world-class, professional work that has been delivered in and outside the classroom demonstrates the level of excellence we ask of our students. It is also a reflection of the strong commitment that ASB’s faculty and staff have to offer its students, external partners, and ultimately, the community which we take part in trying to make a better place.”

A digital copy of the Roadmap has recently been made available to the general public and can be downloaded from here.

If you are interested to know more about hosting an Action Learning project with ASB, please contact