Erik Thedéen's introductory speech at IOSCO SFN Stakeholder Meeting

Erik Thedéen made the introductory speech at the first IOSCO SFN Stakeholder Meeting in Stockholm.

  • Date: 2019-06-19
  • Speaker: Erik Thedéen
  • Meeting: IOSCO SFN Stakeholder Meeting

Good morning and a warm welcome to Stockholm at the first IOSCO Sustainable Finance Network stakeholder meeting.

I want to start off by thanking you for joining us - it is fantastic to see so many people here today - and from so many parts of the world, from Argentina to Sweden, from Japan and China to the US, from Egypt to France. This is a truly global conference!

IOSCO decided in October 2018 to create a Sustainable Finance Network (SFN) to provide a platform for IOSCO's members to share their experiences and discuss sustainability. The network, which currently has 39 members, is represented here today by the steering group (USA, France, Hong Kong, China, Brazil, Spain, UK, and Japan).

I would like to extend my thanks to the steering group and the IOSCO secretariat - thank you for the time and effort that you are putting into this work. I would also like to thank the IOSCO board for supporting the SFN.

I think that, for most of us here today, sustainable development is an issue that lies close to our hearts. We would probably all agree that we are in a state that calls for action, and as I see it, we all have a role to play – politicians, regulators and companies. Nobody can or should do everything, but everybody should do something.

When it comes to sustainable finance, so much has happened during the past few years. Five years back, there was hardly any debate on sustainable finance and its effects on financial stability and consumer protection, and let's be honest, especially not among supervisors!

I think one important reason for this shift is that supervisors, financial companies and investee companies have realised that it's not only about how a company affects society and the environment - but also vice versa: how sustainability issues can impact the company: its risk exposure, its business model, its value.

For example - the transition to a low-carbon society will without any doubt have consequences for the energy sector and for the investors in that sector. Realising that these issues can have material financial impact has been an eye opener – and it means that supervisors also need to consider sustainability issues in their daily supervisory tasks. And increasingly we are considering sustainability.

Incorporating sustainability in our day-to-day supervision is not only important for ensuring a well-functioning financial system - it also has the ability to support a transition towards a sustainable real economy. These are two sides of the same coin.

Looking at the development of sustainable finance, we can conclude that there are many different ongoing (private and public) initiatives.

We have for example seen a large number of initiatives on how to integrate sustainability factors into corporate reporting. This is of course positive and a proof that these issues are gaining ground.

My personal view is that when it comes to a dynamic area such as sustainable finance, there are obvious advantages in allowing market stakeholders to drive the development of frameworks and standards.

However, with all these initiatives there is a risk for confusion and fragmentation; lack of comparability becomes an issue. These questions are much discussed today and many argue that there is a need to coordinate and align different standards in order to achieve internationally more coherent practises.

This is one of the reasons for creating IOSCO Sustainable Finance Network – to gain a better understanding of key initiatives within sustainable finance, their relevance to investor decision making and the level of uptake and implementation of frameworks and standards.

Another objective is to discuss how sustainability issues relate to the role and work of securities regulators.

However, opinion differs, and I believe that today's meeting offers an excellent opportunity to discuss these issues further and our meeting also shows that IOSCO - as the global standard setter for securities markets regulation - has an important role to play.

As you may have seen: the role of the securities regulator will run like a common thread throughout our panel discussions here today. We will discuss:

  1. how sustainability issues can impact the development of companies' business models and risk management,
  2. how sustainability affects investment decision processes, and
  3. corporate reporting and whether it is time for convergence of frameworks.

The ambition is to leave this meeting with a better understanding of the role of the securities regulator in this context, and how to move forward.

To gain further insights, the Sustainable Finance Network is also conducting a survey and a mapping exercise. We are still at the stage of compiling the results from this exercise, but I believe that Ana Martinez from Spain, who leads one of the work streams within the network, will give us a flavour of the preliminary findings later on in the closing discussion.

I also want to highlight the work on sustainability issues that is already being conducted within IOSCO, for example in the Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. I look forward to hear Marcos Arreya, co-chair of the GEM Committee, tell us more about their work later on today.

We have a very exciting day ahead of us. Not only because we are discussing an extremely important issue, but also because we have a "dream team" in this room! You have all been asked to come, you have been selected! You have the knowledge, insight and experience that makes it possible for us to reach our ambition for the day.

So in order to get most out of it I want to encourage all of you to engage actively in today's discussions, to be open minded - and to speak freely – as I believe this is the best way forward in order to identify potential next steps...

Thank you for now.