Category: Institutional Investors

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United Arab Emirates: SCA Overhauls Regulations Governing Foreign Fund Offerings
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AUSTRALIA: ASIC Starts 2023 with Focus on Greenwashing
3
United States: PCAOB’s Vacating 2021 Determination under HFCAA Lowers the Risk of Delisting
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AUSTRALIA: Climate and sustainability-related financial disclosure reforms on the horizon
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AUSTRALIA: ASIC gears up enforcement activity

United Arab Emirates: SCA Overhauls Regulations Governing Foreign Fund Offerings

By: C. Todd Gibson, Amjad Hussain, and Zaid Abu-Shattal

The Securities and Commodities Authority (“SCA”), the federal financial regulatory agency in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) issued on 16 January 2023 a suite of new decisions and regulations, which introduced sweeping changes to the public distribution of foreign funds in the UAE.

Pursuant to SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors Decision No. 4/RM of 2023 Concerning the Procedures of Adjustment of Situation to Promote Units of Foreign Funds in the UAE (“Foreign Funds Regulations”), which came into effect on 17 January 2023, promotion of foreign funds in the UAE is now limited to private distribution to professional investors and/or market counterparties, as defined in the SCA Rulebook. As of today, the updated regulations are only available in Arabic.

Amongst other obligations set out in the Foreign Funds Regulations, promoters of foreign funds in the UAE must amend their arrangements with managers of foreign funds to comply with the provisions of the Foreign Funds Regulations.

The Foreign Funds Regulations state that promoters may continue performing their obligations pursuant to contracts that are still in force for a period not exceeding six months from 1 January 2023 or until the expiration of such contracts (whichever comes first), provided that the registration of the concerned foreign funds are renewed within the transitional period and payment of the prescribed fees are made to the SCA.

The SCA seems to want to encourage global asset managers to set up an onshore presence and establish onshore domestic public or private funds to target investors in the UAE in accordance with the new requirements and processes that were also issued on 16 January 2023 under the SCA Chairman of the Board of Directors Decision No. 1/RM of 2023 on the Regulation of Investment Funds. The SCA also issued decisions with respect to regulations governing the registration of securities for listing purposes, amending certain provisions of the SCA Rulebook, clearing activities in local commodity markets, and SCA services fees.

AUSTRALIA: ASIC Starts 2023 with Focus on Greenwashing

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

ASIC has brought in the New Year with a focus on green-washing, issuing infringement notices against two different companies, one a superannuation fund trustee and the second being an energy company. The corporations have paid $13,320 and $39,960 respectively in compliance with the infringement notices, noting that payment of such infringement notices is not an admission of guilty or liability.

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United States: PCAOB’s Vacating 2021 Determination under HFCAA Lowers the Risk of Delisting

By: Yuki Sako and Michael G. Lee

On 15 December 2022, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced that it was able to secure complete access to inspect and investigate audit firms in China. From September to November 2022, PCAOB staff members “conducted on-site inspections and investigations in Hong Kong…thoroughly testing all aspects of the agreement necessary to assess whether [Chinese] Authorities would allow complete access.” The PCAOB’s inspections and investigations were pursuant to a written agreement, called the Statement of Protocol, which the PCAOB entered into with Chinese authorities on August 26, 2022. The PCAOB concluded that Chinese authorities “did not obstruct the PCAOB’s ability to inspect and investigate completely, consistent with U.S. law.” Consequently, the PCAOB decided to vacate its previous December 16, 2021 determination, made pursuant to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act (HFCAA), that positions taken by China prevented the PCAOB from inspecting and investigating firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong completely.

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AUSTRALIA: Climate and sustainability-related financial disclosure reforms on the horizon

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

1. Australian Government consults on climate-related financial disclosure framework

The Australian Government has released a consultation paper seeking feedback on the design and implementation of their commitment to a standardised, internationally-aligned climate-related financial disclosure framework.  The framework proposes a ‘phased’ approach where the increased disclosure obligations apply initially to large, listed entities and financial institutions, and be later expanded to smaller firms. 

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AUSTRALIA: ASIC gears up enforcement activity

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

1. ASIC takes further action on greenwashing

ASIC has issued three infringement notices to investment manager Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (Vanguard) in further action against alleged greenwashing.

ASIC was concerned that Product Disclosure Statements for the Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Funds may have misled the public by overstating an investment screen which claimed to prevent investment in companies involved in significant tobacco sales. 

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