The Asia Region Funds Passport (“Passport”) Joint Committee (“JC”) planned to hold its eighth face-to-face meeting in Bangkok on 21st – 23rd April 2020. Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions on travel and gatherings as well as concern about the health, well-being, and safety of the attendees, the eighth JC meeting was held in a virtual format on 28th May 2020 instead. The meeting was hosted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand (Chair) and was attended by representatives from Australia, Japan, New Zealand (Deputy Chair), and the Republic of Korea.
Progress of the Passport
Following the implementation of the Passport in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Thailand, the Republic of Korea has completed the revision of the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act and other relevant rules required for the implementation of the Passport. The Financial Services Commission (“FSC”) of Korea anticipates that it will complete preparations and be operationally ready to receive registration applications under the ARFP by the end of 2020. The FSC has also published the latest press release on the revision of its regulations on 19th May 2020.
The Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand is working with the Passport’s first applicant for registration as a passport fund.
The JC acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 over the course of recent months. Currently, there are positive signs of improving situation in members’ countries. While there are many challenges to be confronted, the JC would continue engaging and raising awareness in the industry as well as highlighting the opportunities that the Passport presents fund operators, investors, and the capital market at large. In addition, the JC would continue providing necessary information on the ARFP website for fund operators who are interested in passporting funds under the ARFP framework.
The JC also discussed the direction of the Passport and agreed on considering how to plan for, and commence work on a report of the Passport as envisaged under the Memorandum of Cooperation.
Given the continued uncertainty on the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the next meeting of the JC is planned to be held virtually in October 2020.
Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand entered into the MoC in June 2016. The JC was established under the MoC to oversee the effective implementation and operation of the Passport.
The Passport, established through the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process, enables cross-border offerings of managed funds to retail investors. It is intended to provide significant benefits to investors through more fund choices and give easier access to overseas market to fund operators, while maintaining effective legal and regulatory arrangements for investor protection. It is also intended to strengthen the capacity, expertise, and international competitiveness of financial markets and the fund industry in the region.
18 June 2020