European Commission Appoints Members of Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

Battered EU Flag Europe BrexitThe European Commission has announced the appointment of a group of individuals to advise on sustainable finance. The initiative is part of the ongoing Capital Markets Union (CMU) which took a serious blow following the Brexit decision.  The intent of the expert group is to help provide recommendations to the Commission to better determine how to integrate sustainability into rules for the financial sector.

dombrovskisEC Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who replaced Jonathan Hill at the Commission following Brexit, said they were “committed” to sustainable finance in Europe and this newly appointed group “will ensure our approach to sustainable finance is ambitious and at the forefront of innovation.”

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, added, “this is crucial for jobs, growth and competitiveness.” Katainen called the finance sector critical in re-orienting capital towards more sustainable technologies.

The EU financial policy reform seeks to:

  1. Steer the flow of public and private capital towards sustainable investments;
  2. Explore effective and operational steps that financial institutions and supervisors should take to protect the stability of the financial system from risks related to the environment;
  3. Deploy these policies on a pan-European scale.

While the CMU initiative and expert group holds profound merit what appears to be missing is solid representation from Fintech proponents.  Sustainable finance may be best achieved by leveraging technological innovation that can facilitate access and level the playing field for both consumers and businesses. The EU has already conceded defeat in attempting pan-European crowdfunding rules as beyond the reach of Commission policy makers. This shortfall was balanced by the decision to increase the amount issuers may raise on crowdfunding platforms – a change Dombrovskis called a “milestone” for CMU. The EU prospectus will be mandatory from € 8 million in capital raised significantly more than the previous € 5 million threshold.

As for the creation of another expert group of old finance luminaries, this is nice – but actionable policy will always be preferable.

 


 

Composition of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance:

Expert Title Organisation Stakeholder group
BECKER, Julie Member of Executive Committee Luxembourg Stock Exchange Finance

(stock exchange)

BILLING, Magnus CEO ALECTA Finance

(pension fund)

CANFIN, Pascal CEO WWF France Civil society
DUPRE, Stan CEO 2° Investment Initiative Civil society
FISHER, Paul Senior Associate University of Cambridge Academic
GROSZEK, Mieczyslaw Vice President Polish Bank Association Finance (banks)
HARRIS, David Head Sustainable Business and Director of ESG London Stock Exchange Group Finance (stock exchange)
HOLMES, Ingrid Director E3G Civil society
HUSSON-TRAORE, Anne-Catherine CEO NOVETHIC Research
KIDNEY, Sean CEO Climate Bonds Initiative Civil society
KIVISAARI, Esko Deputy Managing Director Federation of Finnish Financial Services Finance
KRUSE, Claudia Managing Director, Global Responsible Investment and Governance APG Asset Management Finance

(asset manager)

MATTISON, Richard CEO TRUCOST (S&P Global) Finance (ratings/analytics)
McCarthy, Arlene Special Advisor to the Chairman, Bloomberg AMC Strategy Finance (data/analytics)
MICILOTTA, Flavia Executive Director EUROSIF Civil society
SCHMIDT, Michael Board Member DEKA Investment Finance

(asset manager)

THIMANN, Christian (Chairperson) Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability and Insurance Foresight AXA Finance (insurance)
VANDER STICHELE, Myriam Senior Researcher SOMO Civil society (Research)
WAYGOOD, Steve Chief Responsible Investment Officer AVIVA investors Finance (insurance)
ZAOUATI, Philippe CEO MIROVA Finance

(asset manager)

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