The investing community all over the world are increasingly looking at the societal impact of their investments in companies as measured by environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. This is evidenced by sustainable mutual and exchange traded funds having attracted US$ 20.6 billion of total new assets in 2019 as compared to only US$ 5.5 billion achieved in the previous year. While some may argue that this is a trend seen in developed markets only, given the nature of large global fund management companies, this trend cannot be ignored and will or more accurately, has already affected Asian markets. In part, in anticipation of this growing trend as well as to speed up the push towards more responsible and sustainable investments, regulators in many parts of Asia have begun to formulate policies to promote and encourage a more ESG compliant eco-system.
This 3-hour program will seek to answer the following questions:
- Why are ESG investments a growing trend? Should it be taken seriously?
- What are investors concerned about?
- What should directors look out for?
- What are the key ESG regulatory developments especially across Asia?
- How does Malaysia compare against other countries in terms of ESG regulation as well as practices?
At the end of the program, participants will gain a better understanding of the growing ESG trends – and the reasons for them – as well as key regulatory developments in this area. With this knowledge, directors and senior management will be better equipped to provide risk oversight and formulate appropriate strategies for their organizations.
Jamie Allen is the founding Secretary General of Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA), an independent membership association carrying out original research, advocacy and education on corporate governance in Asia since 1999. A published author, he has more than 30 years of experience writing about Asian business, finance, and economics. Prior to founding ACGA, he was a consultant providing customised research to multinational companies. He is one of the main authors of Awakening Governance: The evolution of corporate governance in China and CG Watch 2018 – Hard decisions, the two reports published by ACGA in July 2018 and December 2018 respectively.
His past public service roles include being a member of the Public Shareholders’ Group, formed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), sitting on the Listing Committee of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, and serving on the Operations Oversight Committee of the Financial Reporting Council of Hong Kong.
Benjamin McCarron is the Founder and Managing Director of Asia Research and Engagement (ARE), a firm he founded in Singapore in 2013 to provide specialist research and representation services for institutional investors on their Asian investments. ARE provides consultancy on strategic ESG issues for companies and investors. ARE’s specialisms include sustainable protein. energy transition, and sustainable real estate. Benjamin was previously head of research at Responsible Research (RR), a Singapore-based consultancy.
Before moving to Asia in 2011, he was an analyst for The Cooperative Asset Management (now Royal London Asset Management) in the UK. He led the integration of environmental and social analysis into the investment and engagement processes. Earlier, he was a fund manager at Framlington, where he managed £100 million of small-cap UK pension money and significantly outperformed the benchmark. He also co-managed a global technology fund covering IT and healthcare research at Gerrard, now part of Barclays Wealth.
Benjamin is a Specialist Consultant for ACGA. He is also a regular speaker on sustainability and responsible investment in Asia; and has been interviewed or quoted for major international and Asian publications including the Financial Times, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, SCMP, the Independent, the Observer, the Business Times, Investor Relations Magazine, and The Edge.