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Maples Group launches ESG fund services solutions

Friday, August 19, 2022
Opalesque Industry Update - The Maples Group announced the expansion of its global Fund Services offering with the launch of new ESG solutions to support fund managers and institutional investors committed to investments with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) and impact investing credentials.

Industry research shows that a significant amount of capital raised globally is being secured by ESG-committed managers. According to Bloomberg, ESG assets under management ("AUM") are on pace to account for nearly US$53 trillion by 2025, one-third of global AUM. With investors increasingly favouring responsible, ethical and sustainable investments, regulators introducing related reporting and disclosure requirements and the increasing importance of safeguarding against greenwashing, there has never been a greater need for adaptable solutions that support fund managers in addressing these demands. In response to these dynamics and the expected continued growth of ESG investments, the Maples Group's enhanced ESG offering comprises data, reporting, and certification support, as well as a platform solution to support European distribution in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

"We recognise the importance of ESG and the role that our industry can play in contributing to societal good. We are proud to contribute to the creation of a global ecosystem where the benefits of ESG can be realised," said Mark Weir, Deputy Global Head of Fund Services for the Maples Group. "We have worked closely with key industry partners to introduce leading solutions that are reflective of the shift taking place across the industry. This is a natural evolution of our offering and a complement to the existing legal, fund, fiduciary, regulatory compliance and entity formation and management services offered across the Maples Group, ensuring that we can effectively support managers and investors in the ESG environment and beyond."

Data and reporting solutions

The Maples Group has implemented a leading ESG data and reporting system from Trucost, part of S&P Global, which provides comprehensive analytics and in-depth reporting to create transparency for stakeholders and help manage risk.

The system has ESG reporting capabilities for both listed and private investments and regulatory reporting solutions to address the requirements under the EU's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation ("SFDR") and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures ("TCFD").

ESG certification solutions

As a complement to its full suite of custom reporting solutions, the Maples Group has partnered with leading compliance and risk advisory firm K2 Integrity to give clients exclusive access to K2 Integrity's first-of-its-kind solution for independent certification of ESG strategies. This consists of a detailed review of qualitative and quantitative metrics to verify that both the fund and the manager are compliant with ESG best practices and industry standards. K2 Integrity's proprietary framework takes into consideration applicable regulations that will improve trust and transparency as it relates to ESG criteria and mitigate the risk of greenwashing, which has become more prevalent as interest in ESG investments has grown.

"The need to validate and quantify ESG initiatives has never been greater, as investors, regulators and other stakeholders pay closer scrutiny to funds' activities," said Andrew Rabinowitz, Co-CEO of K2 Integrity. "We are extremely excited about this partnership with the Maples Group to help funds and fund managers certify that they are following through on their ESG commitments. It allows us to remain best-in-class in serving our global clientele through all of their needs, by bringing together ESG, regulatory, legal, industry, training and certification expertise."

Maples ESG platform

Finally, the Maples Group has also introduced the Maples ESG Platform, an Irish Collective Asset Management Vehicle ("ICAV"). The Maples ESG Platform is an umbrella fund, specifically structured to host ESG and sustainability-focused funds and shall be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland as a Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Fund ("QIAIF"). It will offer both EU and non-EU clients a turnkey solution for SFDR compliance and European distribution of sustainability-focused fund products. The Maples ESG Platform is managed and promoted by MPMF Fund Management (Ireland) Limited ("MPMF"), the Maples Group's Central Bank of Ireland authorised alternative investment fund manager. In addition, the Maples Group has the expertise and services to offer additional legal structures to an ICAV including, trusts, partnerships or contractual funds, and to provide these solutions in either Ireland or Luxembourg.

Declan McHugh, Senior Vice President and Head of MPMF added from a European perspective: "Europe has emerged as the most advanced jurisdiction for ESG capital allocation and has been a step ahead as it relates to regulation. We are excited to bring a unique set of solutions to the market for both European and non-European managers seeking to enhance their ESG capabilities and gain better access European investors."

The introduction of these ESG-focused solutions is supported further by the multi-jurisdictional capabilities and exposure to global ESG trends and sustainable finance developments from across the wider Maples Group which has decades of experience in advising and providing services to ESG-focused investment strategies. As that sector has moved from the niche to mainstream, the Group has considerably expanded its legal, regulatory and professional services offering to assist clients in the allocation of private capital to tackle the climate emergency, biodiversity challenges, social reforms and the rapidly developing governance framework. This experience and expertise informs best practices that helps fund manager and institutional investor clients achieve their ESG objectives at an operational level.

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