ASEAN Capital Markets Forum launches green bond standards

10 November 2017   Category: News, Asia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia   By Goh Thean Eu

The ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), comprising capital market regulators from the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has launched green bond standards as part of its plan to grow the region’s green bond market.

ACMF Chairman Ranjit Ajit Singh says the ASEAN Green Bond Standards (AGBS) are based on the Green Bond Principles of the International Capital Markets Association.

“These AGBS specifically exclude fossil fuel related projects as eligible projects, and only ASEAN issuers and projects in ASEAN can use the label,” Mr. Singh, who is also chairman of Malaysia’s Securities Commission, says in his keynote address at the ASEAN Capital Market Conference in Kuala Lumpur on November 8.

According to Mr. Singh, the new regional standards are “tailored to the needs and commitment of ASEAN and designed to help create an asset class”.

Madhu Gayer, head of investment analytics in Asia at French lender BNP Paribas, says the AGBS can benefit both issuers and investors of green bonds.

He says issuers that comply with the AGBS will be able to have access to a wide of investors, including those from the US and Europe, who are looking for assets that meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards.

“At the same time, investors will be able to be assured that the assets they are investing in meet the requirements and principles of ESG,” Mr. Gayer tells Asia Asset Management on the sidelines of the conference.

Meanwhile, Mr. Singh says the ACMF is also looking at other measures to further develop the region's capital markets. This includes the possibility of introducing an ASEAN Green Card that would allow capital market professionals licensed by an ACMF member to provide services in another member country without having to comply with additional requirements.

“Connectivity within the region can only come when people and skills are allowed to be mobile,” Mr. Singh says. He did not indicate when the green card initiative might be introduced.