After circulating the Vistra 2030 report in March, BVI Finance hosted two webinars where executives from the corporate services provider explained the document in more detail.
An April 20 session focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing requirements, and a March 30 session focused on cross-border regulatory complexity.
The next webinar, scheduled for May 23, will discuss optimising organisations for a competitive edge in globalisation.
The Vistra report — which is subtitled “Preparing for a New Era of Globalisation” — stressed the growing importance of so-called ESG investing, which uses requirements designed to encourage companies to act responsibly.
“The demand for action on ESG issues continues to soar, driven by regulators, customers and investors alike,” the report states.
As a result, panelists noted, the need for ESG reporting is also growing rapidly, with total global spending on such reporting topping $1 billion in 2021.
“I think it’s driven by an almost obsessive requirement on the part of legislators and regulators that there isn’t any green-washing — in other words, [that] the funds, for example, that are being sold to people as being ESG-compliant are actually ESG-compliant,” said Jervis Smith, Luxembourg country managing director for Vistra. “The more demand there is for ESG products, the more money there is to spend on the regulatory side.”
Johan Tellvik — a consultant from Turnkey, an ESG solutions provider — agreed that it’s becoming increasingly vital to understand ESG.
Caroline Baker, Vistra managing director for southeast Asia, said that reporting frameworks have varied by jurisdiction, but that most countries are aiming towards more sophisticated ESG projects, especially in Asia.
In the March 30 webinar, three panelists took turns discussing the challenges of cross-border regulation.
Charlotte Lahaije-Hultman, Vistra’s head of corporate, said that managing and keeping up with change continues to be the greatest challenge for corporations, especially smaller ones with limited resources.
Saul Howerton, Vistra vice president of advisory, said that during the pandemic, organisations continued to implement regulations in isolation out of necessity, but that global regulations are increasingly unifying in part because of geo-political unrest in Eastern Europe.
“It’s possible that this will enhance regulatory collaboration going forward,” he said. “I expect we will start to see further convergence, especially focusing on elements around combatting tax avoidance through the use of offshore banks.”