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Alternative Market Briefing

Jersey stakes out a leadership role on ESG

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

Can Jersey become an ESG hub post-Brexit? Delegates at the recent Opalesque Jersey Roundtable suggest the jurisdiction is considering it.

In March of this year, the EU introduced the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, which imposes mandatory ESG disclosure obligations for asset managers and other financial market participants that market funds in the EU. It was initially thought that the regulation would reach funds domiciled in Jersey, but after a survey of asset managers in the jurisdiction, it became clear that few Jersey funds actually fell under the requirements of the EU regulation. Now, Jersey is considering its own ESG mandate.

Jersey has issued a consultation paper designed to support the creation of an ESG framework that represents investor interests and sets up penalties for greenwashing. Jersey's paper comes alongside the UK's own work on the issue. It remains to be seen, however, how well the three regulations will harmonize with each other.

"Care needs to be taken and it will be important to maintain some consistency between the ESG measures across the EU, the UK and Jersey," says Simon Hopwood, Head of the Funds and Investment Management team at Maples and Calder. "If there is any material inconsistency or diverse measures, it will make it difficult for a fund looking to invest across the UK and Europe to comply with the differing requirements, which could place an unnecessary regulatory burden......................

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