THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), along with the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), is planning to develop Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards (SRFS) for investment firms in the country.

The ASEAN SRFS aims “to provide disclosure and reporting requirements that can be consistently applied by fund managers in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) jurisdiction.”

“The ACMF will explore the feasibility of developing sustainable and responsible fund standards and will consult the Fund Managers in the region on the technical requirements and feasibility considerations,” the regulator said.

Under proposed recommendations, the SEC and the ACMF said qualified funds may be listed as an “ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund” on a webpage on ACMF’s website.

Funds may also be required to make information and other reports accessible through their own website or on its fund management company’s (FMC).

The ASEAN SRFS would make investment funds provide disclosures on environment, sustainability, and governance (ESG) initiatives, sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) objectives, and sustainability investment strategies.

An FMC will be required to prepare an annual report on its ESG/SRI/sustainability-related funds, which should include investment strategies and objectives on top of a review on their sustainability aspects.

“FMCs are also encouraged to provide more frequent periodic reporting which would increase transparency and investor confidence,” the regulator said.

The ASEAN SRFS will also require disclosure of the processes in place to ensure ESG compliance. The benchmarks and/or indices used for a fund’s strategies and objectives should also be included.

“Regular monitoring by the FMC of the ESG/SRI/Sustainability-related funds are required to ensure that the funds are continuously in compliance with the disclosures made and fund managers are required to update the respective regulators if there are any material changes to the funds,” the regulator said.

Investment firms, fund managers, and other individuals who deal with investment companies may submit comments and/feedback on the proposed features of the ASEAN SRFS by Thursday next week, Feb. 17. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte