Talk of sustainability led to the roundtable participants raising the problem of greenwashing. Patton noted that fund managers with regulated funds in Jersey have always been required to be open and honest with their investors, and to act with integrity.
The panellists started by addressing how the JFSC’s changes to the codes of practice, following its sustainable investment consultation, are helping to avoid greenwashing, improve investor trust and transparency, and ensure that capital can be redirected to more sustainable outcomes.
Hernandez highlighted that Jersey has historically had a high standard when it comes to investor trust and transparency for Jersey’s regulated funds. “To a certain extent, this was already part of Jersey’s DNA. There is already an existing framework for Jersey’s regulated funds that basically says, ‘Be transparent to your investors, disclose material information.’”
By 2030, Jersey’s vision is to be recognised “as the leading sustainable international finance centre in the markets it serves”.
Jersey Finance is working with the government, the regulator and the industry, and has published its long-term strategy and vision, as well as an initial two-year plan to accelerate Jersey’s journey towards a sustainable future, putting Jersey at the forefront of ESG-compliant financial centres. Refson said: “It is a journey [with] government, industry, regulators, all in the same direction. It’s a real strategy, not a form of lip service.”
Discussing Jersey’s wider sustainable finance project and what it means for the finance sector, Satchell said: “In previous instances, we’ve broadly adopted policies wholesale - for example, AIFMD [the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive]. However, Jersey’s approach to sustainable investment and finance is to ensure that managers who are raising products that are marketed as ‘sustainable’ provide the necessary disclosures and information regarding its sustainable investment strategy. This, for me, is a smart move by Jersey as it ensures investors can be sure that they are investing into truly ‘sustainable’ products and have the necessary information in order to make their investment decision. This approach is a more commercially viable one that ensures that necessary information is gathered without simply trying to ‘greenwash’ a product.”