How is ESG impacting everything, everywhere and everyone

I would imagine that by now, ESG is close to being a better-known acronym than KYC in financial services. This is ultimately because ESG dominates news headlines on a daily basis and as a consequence, buyers of goods and services now differentiating where they allocate capital – seeking out businesses pushing to make a difference.  

This means ESG or sustainable finance is becoming more than just ‘buzzwords’. Capital inflow into ESG-related funds more than doubled in 2021 compared to the previous year and analysts expect ESG AUM to reach c20% of Global AUM or $33.9trn by 2026 ($18.4trn 2021) according to PwC.   

Ross Youngs, Chief Commercial Officer at Belasko, identifies how to navigate the rising waters, the impact on our clients and the business’ proactive approach to lead the way.  

How are our clients impacted? 

Our fund clients are impacted to varying degrees depending on their size and marketing plans. Many share our proactive approach and have, generally speaking, adopted two different routes depending on the level of regulation required. This includes:  

  1. The Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).   
  2. The Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI) : – Where SFDR has not been relevant, our clients have chosen voluntary compliance with the PRI. (The PRI is a set of ESG principles developed by investors to have a positive sustainable impact in the global financial system.) 

Unpacking the SFDR 

There are three levels of regulation applicable to funds marketed in Europe under the SFDR:    

Article 9 covers funds that have a sustainable objective /outcome. They have strict requirements on how they achieve their goals. There has been a great deal of focus on this category of fund and as such, the burden of evidential reporting is very high. This has led to c40% or $175bn of article 9 funds reclassifying to article 8.   

Article 8 is for funds that promote positive environment, social and governance characteristics but do not have those as their overarching objectives.   

Meanwhile, article 6 is for funds that do not integrate any kind of sustainability into their investment.  

These three levels of regulation can be considered stepping stones depending on where the business or fund is on its ESG journey.  

How has ESG impacted Belasko?  

The team and I at Belasko recognise that ESG has several positive impacts when successfully incorporated into business strategy. We are not required by regulation to report on sustainability however, we have chosen to partner with Terra Instinct to create a Responsible Business Policy.   

We have dedicated resources to steward the implementation of our policy which requires a group-wide committee, the definition of sustainable metrics relevant to Belasko, measurement and target setting. This resource also includes an annual report for clients and investors on our sustainable journey.    

I envisage that businesses like ours will soon have mandatory reporting on ESG areas in years to come. We deem it essential to be a leader in this area and will continue taking proactive efforts to stay ahead of the curve.  

How can we help you?  

No matter the complexity of compliance with the PRI or SFDR, there are common challenges with which we can assist.   

  1. The first challenge is defining a policy of responsible investment. The policy must consider the fund’s impact on ESG factors and then set appropriate data points with which to measure and track positive impact according to the goals set.   
  2. Data collection sounds easy, but it is not standardised across markets and countries so the sophistication and resource availability of portfolio companies to stream up the data sets can vary considerably. This is a major hurdle for our clients.  
  3. Regulation and investor demand are evolving at pace. Our clients do not usually have internal resources to dedicate to ESG and therefore rely on Belasko to keep them advised as to what’s next and how to remain compliant.  

Belasko has developed an end-to-end solution in partnership with Terra Instinct to power auditable data collection. It is helpful to have a specialist like Terra Instinct to define policy and collect, validate and where data is not available provide reasonable industry estimates. The benefit of having an advisory expert is of critical importance to ensure data quality, meaning it is auditable and reporting to investors (on which decisions are made) is accurate and reliable.   

Doubts?  

It should be clear by now that ESG is not going anywhere and there is a market expectation to consider sustainability in our personal and business lives. We must adopt positive impacting principles going forward.  

If you would like to get ahead of the curve and prepare yourself for the ESG future, get in touch with Ross at [email protected]. 

Channel Islands Cricket League returns with new sponsor

Following a three-year break, Guernsey Cricket and Jersey Cricket can announce the return of the Channel Islands Cricket League to the inter-insular cricket calendar. The combined league will also welcome Belasko as the title sponsor for the next two years.  

The previous iteration of the pan-island cricket league was ceased in 2019 due to the global pandemic with current champions ATF St Ouen Springfield taking the crown in a hard-fought victory over Farmers Caesareans.

Commenting on the deal for Guernsey Cricket, CEO Mark Latter said, “It has been great to work with Lee Meloy and Sarah Gomersall in Jersey to bring the return of the Belasko Channel Island Cricket League. There is excited anticipation at the renewing of rivalries at inter-insular club level. To be able to attract a title sponsor of the profile of Belasko speaks volumes for the interest such cross water fixtures can create.” 

Sarah Gomersall, Jersey Cricket CEO, added “The Belasko Channel Island Cricket League will add more variety and healthy competition to our club cricket calendar. Securing the return of inter-island club cricket has been a top priority for us. We are delighted to have secured Belasko as the title sponsor for the next two years and thank them for their assistance.” 

Paul Lawrence, Group Managing Director at Belasko, said: “The team at Belasko is committed to supporting our local communities and we’re pleased that our support will help the Channel Islands Cricket League get back off the ground after three years. We are thrilled to bring our two Channel Island offices together for a summer of cricket.” 

The Belasko Channel Island Cricket League of course relies on inter-island travel and timings to suit a cricket match and Guernsey and Jersey Cricket wish to extend their thanks to Brent Blondel, and all at Blue Islands, for their work and flexibility in creating the required flight schedules to allow the matches to take place. 

Fixtures are scheduled to commence earlier than usual with the first game 27th May and they run through various weekends until the Final to be held in Jersey on 26th August. More information on the Belasko Channel Island Cricket League can be found at www.guernseycricket.com or CLICK HERE. 

Belasko appoints Director in Jersey

Belasko continues to strengthen its senior leadership with the appointment of Scott Nelson as Client Services Director in Jersey.  

Scott has a multi-disciplinary background in corporate, private wealth and fund administration with more than 20 years of experience in offshore financial services. Scott also has considerable expertise working with private and listed clients from a broad range of jurisdictions and sectors.  

Paul Lawrence, Group Managing Director at Belasko, said: ‘I’m delighted to strengthen our offering in Jersey with Scott’s appointment. He joins us with a wealth of expertise and will be a great addition to our growing team on the island.’  

In his new role, he will be working with Belasko’s fiduciary team to develop corporate strategy and utilise his experience in regulatory and financial technology to maintain excellent client experiences and manage business risk. 

Paul Lawrence

Paul joined Belasko in 2019 to lead the transformation of Belasko into the Next Generation of Fiduciary and Fund administration partner.

His career spans over 30 years in Financial Services including banking, private wealth and private capital and covers multiple jurisdictions. He has significant experience leading teams supporting clients investing into illiquid assets, particularly Real Estate, Private Equity and Debt. Paul has held board positions for a number of Management Companies and asset holding vehicles, where he brings his experience and focus on strong governance to add value to client structures.

Adrian Franklin

Adrian joined Belasko in 2020 to Head up Group Operations and drive forward the strategic priorities of the Group.

His experience has been across listed, private equity, partnerships and family owned businesses. He is a business transformation and project specialist with over 25 years experience in senior financial services roles covering change management, business operations, financial control and information technology.

Adrian is focused on working with businesses to implement strategic change and deliver sustainable solutions. He has significant experience in system implementations, acquisitions and mergers, delivering regulatory change, transitional services agreements, business outsourcing and global procedural control changes. He uses his wealth of operational experience to work effectively with senior stakeholders, bring the best out of his peer group and empower the functional teams he directs. Adrian has a Masters in Business Administration from Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Ross Youngs

Ross joined Belasko in 2021 to lead the Groups commercial growth strategy in Private Capital Fund Administration, Corporate Administration and Fiduciary services.

He has over 20 years’ experience in the Offshore Fund and Fiduciary markets holding leadership roles in Alternative Assets, Sales, Relationship Management and Client Service for a global provider.

Working with managers across the UK, US, Europe and Middle East, Ross has helped clients launch fund and investment structures in the Private and Public markets focusing on Private Capital and Real Assets.  His experience covers multi location, complex fund servicing and has a strong understanding of Fund Administration, Banking, Financing, Custody and Depositary Services.

Ross seeks to create proactive partnerships with clients based upon trust, a long-term strategic commitment and great service.

Ross is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Banking and holds a BSC (Hons) degree in Financial Services.

Andy Gray

Andy joined Belasko in 2018. He is the Group’s Chief Financial Officer.

Andy has over 20 years’ experience working in financial services having re-located from the UK to Jersey in 2002, and has held a number of positions at Director and Senior Management level before joining Belasko. Andy sits as a director on a number of Jersey regulated fund boards covering a variety of asset classes including, Private Equity, Real Estate, Debt and Secondaries. He has previously chaired the audit committee of a listed fund. Andy is a qualified accountant, a fellow member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (FCCA), a fellow member of the Association of Accounting Technicians (FMAAT) and holds a diploma in International Accounting Standard (DipIFR). In his spare time, Andy enjoys fishing and has competed in the World Freshwater Championships a number of times representing the Channel Islands.

James Michel

James joined Belasko with more than 30 years of experience within trust and corporate fiduciary sectors.

He spent a number of years working in Bermuda after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, before returning to Jersey where he has since held senior positions in a number of fiduciary services businesses.

James’s focus has always primarily been on Private Client services, developing long-term personal relationships with clients and their families, assisting them to fulfil their succession plans, preserving and enhancing wealth through the generations.

Paul Sinel

Paul is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and hold a B.Sc. in Financial Services; he is a member of STEP and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management.

Paul has considerable experience and understanding of all aspects of trust and corporate planning, structuring, administration and of related regulatory compliance matters.

His specific focus has been in the delivery of services to European based high net worth clients and intermediaries, and in the creation, operation and management of private and managed trust companies, family offices and offshore funds.

Giles Edwards

Giles has more 17 years of experience in the fiduciary services industry, specifically within real estate, private wealth and family office services.

He specialises in dealing with high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals and families from the Middle East and Europe and actively manages a broad range of asset classes globally.

Giles, based in our Jersey team, is very experienced with high value UK residential and commercial property structures, complex financing/asset holding arrangements and corporate governance for offshore structures and is an Associate of The Chartered Governance Institute of UK & Ireland (CGI), holding both the ICSA (now CGI) Certificate and Diploma.