Important Changes to ICSF & ISLA’s Plans to Take the ESG Agenda Forward

LONDON, 4 November 2020 – The International Securities Lending Association (ISLA), a leading industry trade association representing the common interests of securities lending and financing market participants across EMEA, is pleased to announce important changes to the ISLA Council for Sustainable Finance (ICSF), and the Association’s plans to take the sustainable finance agenda forward.
Broader Environmental Social and Governance topics have been at the forefront of most global industries for some time, with financial services very much focused on key aspects of this important debate. From a securities lending perspective, ISLA has seen a growing interest from market participants, including its members on the implications for areas such as corporate governance, collateral, and short selling, amongst other things.

At the start of 2020, following sixteen months of intensive and rigorous preparations led by committed beneficial owners, ISLA was delighted to launch the ISLA Council for Sustainable Finance (ICSF). ICSF’s broad aims and objectives were to open up consistent debates on the topic, and introduce wide-ranging solutions for sustainable securities lending through the introduction of its Principles for Sustainable Securities Lending (PSSL), an innovative benchmark in sustainable securities lending developed over the past two years by a high-level working group representing beneficial owners, in association with ISLA.

As the year draws to a close, and building on the important foundations and discussions established by the group thus far, ISLA has decided to bring all aspects of Environmental Social and Governance into its well-developed working group structure. Moving forward, the Council will therefore no longer exist as a separate entity within ISLA, but instead relevant aspects of ESG impacting the wider myriad of ISLA member firms, will be covered by the main ESG working group or new or existing groups or subgroups as appropriate. This will lead to efficiencies from a delivery perspective, as the ESG debate moves from a concept and design phase, to one of detailed implementation.

”ICSF raised the importance of integrating and developing ESG in securities lending. This group of beneficial owners opened the door to further contribution and developments of ESG especially in securities lending. I am looking forward to the next steps in ESG integration in the whole securities lending value chain.” Xavier Bouthors, Senior Portfolio Manager, Treasury, Fixed Income Solutions, NN Investment Partners.

“Being part of the original group of committed beneficial owners who initiated ICSF, I am proud that the council has played such an important part of the genesis of the ESG agenda within the securities lending arena. As our collective efforts evolve into broader and deeper market wide initiatives, I am proud that it is beneficial owners that have taken the lead on this important topic.” Matthew Chessum, Investment Director, Liquidity Management, Aberdeen Standards Investments

“As the ESG debate continues to gain momentum, ISLA is committed to the prioritisation of this topic into 2021 and beyond. The work of the Council for Sustainable Finance over the past twelve months to raise global industry awareness of the challenges as well as areas of alignment between ESG and securities lending, has been invaluable. I want to thank each and every individual and firm involved in this initiative, and am excited about how we take much of this work forward for our members across the EMEA region.” Andrew Dyson, CEO, ISLA.


About ISLA
The International Securities Lending Association (ISLA) is a leading industry association, representing the common interests of securities lending and financing market participants globally. Its diverse membership of over 160 members includes institutional investors, asset managers, custodial banks, prime brokers and service providers.

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