Fuelled by a combination of the COVID-19 crisis, growing investor appetite and the introduction of new regulations – most notably within the EU – the structured products industry is now taking the challenges of ESG (environment, social, governance) commitment and compatibility more seriously. Buck says structured products increasingly require a stamp attesting to their ESG credentials if they are to attract investment. Nonetheless, Buck adds that the industry is awaiting the release of the EU’s Taxonomy, a benchmark set of guidelines designed to help investors ascertain whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable. The Taxonomy should bring more clarity around ESG – a welcome respite given there are so many data providers and ratings agencies giving their own – often contradictory – scores on ESG . “One of the challenges facing the industry is the risk of greenwashing, and it is hoped the Taxonomy – with its clear rules and guidance – will help mitigate that,” says Buck. Buck continues that once the Taxonomy’s details are released, the Swiss Stock Exchange will provide its clients, through its reference data tool CONNEXOR, with concise ESG data based on the taxonomy’s standards.
The next Forum will take place next year on 6 and 7 September 2022, again in Lucerne.