The Asia Region Funds Passport (“Passport”) Joint Committee (“JC”) held its seventh face-to-face meeting in Singapore on 21 and 22 October 2019, hosted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The meeting was attended by representatives from Australia, Japan, New Zealand (Deputy Chair), Republic of Korea and Thailand (Chair). The JC was pleased to welcome observers from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Securities Commission Malaysia, the Securities and Futures Bureau of Chinese Taipei, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Philippines.
Progress of the Passport
Following the official launch of the Passport on 1 February 2019, the Passport now has the first application for registration as a passport fund under review with the New Zealand FMA.
The JC discussed engagement with industry and how the member economies and the JC itself could increase awareness and encourage use of the Passport by industry. The recent enhancements to the ARFP website will support this goal.
The Chair of the JC, Ms Saovanee Suwannarong of the Securities and Exchange of Thailand, said:
Now that the Passport is in operation, the JC endeavors to raise awareness of the Passport by having necessary information available for the industry to help broaden the understanding of the framework and by continuing to engage with industry.
The JC also discussed the future direction of the Passport including working towards interoperability with other passport arrangements, and continuing discussions with a number of economies in the region that have the potential to join as participants.
The JC continues to have a dedicated session for observers to provide an opportunity for dialogue between the JC and potential new members about the opportunities and practical considerations associated with joining the Passport.
The JC has also published the latest Annual Implementation Report for 2018 – 2019.
The JC welcomed the Industry Day event arranged by the Monetary Authority of Singapore on 23 October 2019 in Singapore. Over 350 stakeholders from around the region were in attendance. Ms Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director of the MAS, opened the event. Attendees heard from JC members about passporting processes in each member economy followed by a Q&A session about practical issues for those interested in using the Passport.
This was followed by a presentation from Mr Armin Choksey of PwC, who highlighted the opportunities in Asia’s managed funds market that were created by the ARFP. The event was concluded by a panel session with fund managers, tax advisors, and securities services providers, who provided insights based on their experiences in cross-border provision of funds management services.
Mr Armin Choksey of PwC said:
The ARFP is history in the making. It is setting an example for many other trading blocks of economies through its provision of improved market access and regulatory harmonisation, giving investors a more diversified choice of investment funds.
The JC discussed various ways to raise awareness of the opportunity presented by the ARFP scheme and confirmed its continued interest in working with industry to develop the passport.
The next face-to-face meeting of the JC is planned to take place in Thailand in April 2020.
In June 2016, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Thailand entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation (“MoC”). 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 choice, 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 funds industry in the region.
30 October 2019