Regulating Sustainable Finance: A round-table discussion of the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance proposals

Held on Thursday, June 7, 2018.


  • Jennifer Choi (ICI Global)

  • Martin Parkes (BlackRock)

  • Iain Richards (Columbia Threadneedle)

  • Patrick Arber (Aviva)



While Trump may have pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, other jurisdictions are forging ahead with efforts to tackle climate risk – with the EU very much leading the pack. A High Level Expert Group report on Sustainable Finance in January very quickly became a Commission Action Plan, and (as of last week) that has become a set of sustainable finance legislative proposals.

There is broad consensus (in Europe) that harnessing the capital markets to help manage climate risk is the right way forward… and yet. Even within the EU, there are plenty of challenges within the proposals: the old chestnut of whether the Commission should be able to dictate directly into member states’ laws through delegated acts that bypass local law makers; concerns over whether one size can fit all of the different pensions and investment markets; whether a new taxonomy will really address “greenwashing”; and indeed whether the proposals go far enough.

A perhaps greater issue is whether the rest of the world will follow where Europe leads, or whether the EC’s proposals (in whatever form they finally take) could fragment the investment landscape and stall the global momentum that has been building behind Sustainable Finance.

With all that in mind, we are delighted to welcome Jennifer Choi, chief counsel for the Investment Company Institute in Washington. Jennifer is an alumna of the SEC and the Wharton School, and now leads the Institute’s global policy work on cross-border regulatory matters affecting its members – and the $30 trillion of assets they manage. There are few better placed to comment on how the global (and particularly US) investment industry views the proposals.

That said, she won’t have things all her own way. Joining Jennifer we are delighted to welcome:

  • Martin Parkes, managing director of Global Public Policy at BlackRock. Martin is a member of ESMA’s Investor Protections and Intermediaries Committee and a regular contributor with EFAMA, ICMA, the IA and ALFI.
  • Patrick Arber, senior analyst for Global Public Policy at Aviva. Prior to joining Aviva, Paddy spent a decade in the civil service, including a spell as head of multilateral climate negotiations at DECC during the Paris Agreement negotiations.
  • Iain Richards, head of responsible investment at Columbia Threadneedle. Iain has twenty-five years’ experience in governance and sustainability, across investment management, policy and regulation.

If you (or a colleague) would like to join us, please register online here or call the CSFI on 020 7621 1056. Wine, refreshments and sandwiches will be available. Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton