The Asia Region Funds Passport (the Passport) Joint Committee (JC) held its eleventh meeting in a virtual format on 21 July 2022 due to the restrictions on travel and gatherings related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The meeting was chaired by the Japan Financial Services Agency and attended by representatives from Australia (Deputy Chair), New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and Thailand.
Progress of the Passport
In January 2022, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) of New Zealand registered a regulated Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) based in New Zealand as a Passport Fund. This is the first Passport Fund approved under the ARFP in the Home economy. Currently, all JC members are ready to facilitate the necessary processes stipulated in MoC.
At the eleventh meeting, the JC agreed in principle to amend the MoC with the view to making the amendment process of MoC more practical.
The JC also agreed to review the Passport scheme as stipulated in the MoC. The review will consider what obstacles and challenges the fund industry faces in using the passport scheme. The Review will include consultation with fund industry participants and certain APEC non-member economies in the Asia Pacific region, who have previously shown interest in the ARFP but taken no further steps.
The JC was also informed about key priorities for APEC 2022 in sustainable finance.
The twelfth meeting of the JC is potentially to be held in a physical format in December 2022. Given the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, the JC has agreed to keep monitoring the circumstances and determining the most appropriate setting for the conference.
Concurrent with the twelfth meeting, the JC plans to organize an Industry Session as part of the Passport Review in an appropriate format.
Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand entered into the MoC in June 2016, then established the JC to oversee the effective implementation and operation of the Passport.
Established through the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process, the Passport enables cross-border offerings of managed funds to retail investors and intends to provide significant benefits to investors through more fund choices and easier offshore market access to fund operators, while maintaining effective legal and regulatory arrangements for investor protection. The Passport is also designed to bolster the capacity, expertise, and international competitiveness of financial markets and the fund management industry in the region.