Relevant Issues (4 of 26)
Why are some issues greyed out?The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.
- GHG Emissions
- Air Quality
- Energy Management
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare
Selling Practices & Product LabelingThe category addresses social issues that may arise from a failure to manage the transparency, accuracy, and comprehensibility of marketing statements, advertising, and labeling of products and services. It includes, but is not limited to, advertising standards and regulations, ethical and responsible marketing practices, misleading or deceptive labeling, as well as discriminatory or predatory selling and lending practices. This may include deceptive or aggressive selling practices in which incentive structures for employees could encourage the sale of products or services that are not in the best interest of customers or clients.
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
Employee Engagement, Diversity & InclusionThe category addresses a company’s ability to ensure that its culture and hiring and promotion practices embrace the building of a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the makeup of local talent pools and its customer base. It addresses the issues of discriminatory practices on the bases of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and other factors.
Business Model and Innovation
Product Design & Lifecycle ManagementThe category addresses incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in characteristics of products and services provided or sold by the company. It includes, but is not limited to, managing the lifecycle impacts of products and services, such as those related to packaging, distribution, use-phase resource intensity, and other environmental and social externalities that may occur during their use-phase or at the end of life. The category captures a company’s ability to address customer and societal demand for more sustainable products and services as well as to meet evolving environmental and social regulation. It does not address direct environmental or social impacts of the company’s operations nor does it address health and safety risks to consumers from product use, which are covered in other categories.
- Business Model Resilience
- Supply Chain Management
- Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
- Physical Impacts of Climate Change
Leadership and Governance
Business EthicsThe category addresses the company’s approach to managing risks and opportunities surrounding ethical conduct of business, including fraud, corruption, bribery and facilitation payments, fiduciary responsibilities, and other behavior that may have an ethical component. This includes sensitivity to business norms and standards as they shift over time, jurisdiction, and culture. It addresses the company’s ability to provide services that satisfy the highest professional and ethical standards of the industry, which means to avoid conflicts of interest, misrepresentation, bias, and negligence through training employees adequately and implementing policies and procedures to ensure employees provide services free from bias and error.
- Competitive Behavior
- Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
- Critical Incident Risk Management
- Systemic Risk Management
Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Asset Management & Custody Activities
Transparent Information & Fair Advice for Customers
Asset managers have legal obligations and fiduciary duties related to record keeping, operating and marketing, disclosure requirements, and prohibition of fraudulent activities. Regulations surrounding the Asset Management & Custody Activities industry are intended to align the interests of entities and their clients and to limit conflicts of interest. This alignment, coupled with the fact that most asset managers earn fees based on the amount of assets under management, provides a significant incentive for entities to provide clients with strategies that match their risk-return profiles. Despite required disclosures, entities still face significant challenges in ensuring that clients understand the nature of risks taken in investment strategies. Failure to provide services that satisfy customer expectations may result in lengthy and costly litigation, diminished trust with clients, and lower sales as a result. Enhanced disclosure on procedures or programs to provide adequate, clear, and transparent information about products and services, the regulatory violation record of employees, and the amount of fines and settlements associated with professional integrity will provide investors with an advanced understanding of how well entities manage risks associated with this issue and whether they are able to preserve long-term value for shareholders.
Employee Diversity & Inclusion
Asset management and custody activities entities face a high degree of competition for skilled employees. At the same time, the industry has a low level of diversity, especially among senior roles. In recent years, considerable media attention has been focused on cases of gender discrimination involving publicly listed entities in the industry. As the industry continues to undergo rapid innovation through the introduction of more complex financial products and computerised algorithmic and high-frequency trading, the ability of entities to attract and retain skilled employees will likely be increasingly material. By ensuring gender and racial diversity throughout the organisation, entities are likely to expand their candidate pools, which could lower hiring costs and improve operational efficiency. Further, evidence suggests that diverse groups of employees at asset management entities may enhance the risk-return characteristics of investment portfolios. Enhanced disclosure regarding employee gender and racial/ethnic diversity, especially when provided by employee category, will allow shareholders to assess how entities in this industry are managing the associated risks and opportunities.
Incorporation of Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors in Investment Management & Advisory
Asset Management & Custody Activities entities maintain a fiduciary responsibility to their clients. These entities must consider and incorporate an analysis of all material information into investment decisions, including environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. The process of ESG investment involves consideration of ESG factors in valuation, modelling, portfolio construction, proxy voting and engagement with investees and, as a result, in investment decision-making by asset and wealth managers. As the management and use of non-financial forms of capital increasingly contribute to market value, incorporation of ESG factors in the analysis of investees has become more relevant. Research has established that an entity’s management of some ESG factors may impact materially both its accounting and market returns. Therefore, deep understanding of investees’ ESG performance, integration of ESG factors in valuation and modelling, as well as engagement with investees on sustainability issues allows asset managers to generate superior returns. On the other hand, asset management and custody activities industry entities that fail to consider these risks and opportunities in their investment management activities may witness diminished investment portfolio returns that may result in reduced performance fees. Over the long term, these failures could result in an outflow of assets under management (AUM), the loss of market share and lower management fees.
Entities participating in asset management activities face risks and opportunities related to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with those activities. Counterparties, borrowers or investees with higher emissions might be more susceptible to risks associated with technological changes, shifts in supply and demand and policy change which in turn can impact the prospects of a financial institution that is providing financial services to these entities. These risks and opportunities can arise in the form of credit risk, market risk, reputational risk and other financial and operational risks. For example, credit risk might arise in relation to financing clients affected by increasingly stringent carbon taxes, fuel efficiency regulations or other policies; credit risk might also arise through related technological shifts. Reputational risk might arise from financing fossil-fuel projects. Entities participating in asset management activities are increasingly monitoring and managing such risks by measuring their financed emissions. This measurement serves as an indicator of an entity’s exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities and how it might need to adapt its investment strategies over time.
The regulatory environment surrounding the Asset Management & Custody Activities industry continues to evolve both nationally and internationally. Entities are required to adhere to a complex and often inconsistent set of rules relating to performance and conduct as well as disclosure on issues including insider trading, clearing requirements in over-the-counter derivatives markets, and tax evasion. Asset management and custody activities entities are also subject to strict legal requirements as fiduciaries or custodians of their clients. Finally, in some jurisdictions, enhanced rewards for whistleblowers may lead to an increase in the number of complaints brought to regulators. Firms that are able to ensure regulatory compliance through robust internal controls will be better positioned to build trust with clients, leading to increased revenue, and to protect shareholder value by minimising losses incurred as a result of legal proceedings.