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Sustainable Finance Regulation

With the entry into force of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) in the EU in March 2021, regulation of sustainable finance has gained further momentum, which also has a direct impact on Swiss asset managers.

To assess the relevance and consequences of these various regulatory initiatives and to prepare for them, a clear outlook on further developments is necessary.

For this purpose AMAS has entered a partnership with ECOFACT. The company specializes in ESG risk analysis and offers support to asset managers and financial institutions in the field of sustainable finance, especially in view of the constantly evolving regulatory framework in the EU.

The factsheets, which are available in the members' area of the AMAS website, cover the most important regulatory developments and the implementation timetable in a clear format and provide recommendations for implementation.

The factsheets will be updated regularly and supplemented with additional factsheets on a quarterly basis.

Factsheets

Factsheet 1: EU Regulation on Sustainability-Related Disclosures in the Financial Services Sector (SFDR)

The SFDR is an EU regulation that requires financial market participants and financial advisers to have adequate sustainability-related governance structures, processes, and policies in place. It sets disclosure requirements both at the entity and product levels. It introduces mandatory disclosure requirements even for traditional financial products that do not consider sustainability risks and impacts. Most of its Level 1 provisions started to apply on 10 March 2021. The detailed rules for implementation (i.e. Level 2 provisions), which are provided in the form of regulatory technical standards (RTS), are expected to start applying on 1 January 2023. Once the RTS apply, mandatory templates must be used to make entity- and product-level disclosures.

Factsheet 2: EU Regulation on the Establishment of a Framework to Facilitate Sustainable Investment – Sustainability Taxonomy Regulation (TR)

The TR is an EU regulation that establishes a unified classification system for determining which economic activities can be considered environmentally sustainable for the purpose of determining which investments would qualify as sustainable. It supplements the disclosure rules of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) as well as the rules in the Non-Financial Reporting Directive ((NFRD), future Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)). Entities that are subject to the SFDR and/or NFRD must disclose information on the taxonomy-aligned portion of their investments and/or economic activities. The TR’s provisions that address climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation objectives have applied since 1 January 2022. However, the provisions related to other environmental objectives will begin to apply on 1 January 2023.

Factsheet 3: EU Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFID II) and EU Delegated Acts to integrate sustainability factors

MiFID II and its delegated acts were amended to integrate sustainability considerations into product governance, organisational requirements, and operating conditions. Investment firms providing financial advice or portfolio management are required, amongst other things, to carry out a mandatory analysis of their clients’ sustainability preferences and to consider these preferences in suitability assessments and reporting. Sustainability risks are to be integrated into risk management policies, and sustainability preferences are to be taken into account when assessing conflict-of-interest. The amendments require sustainability factors to also be considered in product governance processes, including target market identification. While the suitability amendments start applying on 2 August 2022, the product governance requirements apply from 22 November 2022.

Factsheet 4: Principal Adverse Impacts on Sustainability Factors

Principal adverse impact (PAI) is a key concept in the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). PAIs should be understood as the material, or likely to be material, impacts of investment decisions and advice that result in negative effects on sustainability factors. The SFDR requires PAI reporting both at the entity and product levels on a comply-or-explain basis. However, entity-level PAI reporting is obligatory for large financial market participants (FMPs) (i.e. > 500 employees). For their entity-level PAI reporting, FMPs are expected to
use the mandatory reporting template included in Annex 1 of the SFDR’s Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS). The use of the template will become mandatory once the RTS starts applying on 1 January 2023. The first entity-level PAI statement using the mandatory template must be published by 30 June 2023 with a reference period from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022.