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ASEAN countries to develop sustainable regional finance

Capital market regulators from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to allow cross-border investment advisory services and to set standards for social and sustainability bonds amid efforts to drive a more connected and sustainable capital market in the region.

The initiative will allow licensed professionals to provide advisory services within participating ASEAN jurisdictions, with fast-track registration and no additional licensing requirements, which would give investors in ASEAN countries greater access to professional services.

Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand took the lead by signing a memorandum of understanding to take part in the initiative.

The regulators also introduced the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards and the ASEAN Sustainability Bond Standards. The two standards, which complement the ASEAN Green Bond Standards, are expected to enhance transparency, consistency and uniformity of ASEAN green, social and sustainability bonds, cut due diligence costs and assist global investors to make informed investment decisions.

Proceeds from social bonds will be used to finance socially beneficial projects, while proceeds from sustainability bonds will be used to finance a combination of both green and social projects.