FCA recruiting external members for ESG advisory committee

UK regulator is looking to appoint 'a small number' of external experts to help execute ESG-related responsibilities and fulfil net-zero mandate from government.

UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority is recruiting external experts for a new ESG advisory committee.

The regulator said that its board had decided to establish the committee to help execute its ESG-related responsibilities, including providing advice on oversight of ESG issues, emerging topics and development of its ESG strategy.

Previous chancellor Rishi Sunak mandated the FCA to “have regard” for the UK’s net-zero targets when considering how to achieve its objectives and functions in a letter sent to the regulator last year setting out its updated remit, and the committee is also intended to assist in this regard.

A small number of external experts “who have in depth knowledge of ESG issues in the financial sector” are expected to join the committee, and will be appointed in a personal capacity. The regulator said it did not expect that individuals currently employed by firms it regulated would be eligible.

The first meeting of the committee is set to be in Q4 this year, with quarterly meetings after that. The chair will be selected by the FCA’s board, which will also provide a secretariat.

The FCA has stepped up the pace of interventions on ESG topics over the past few months. In June, it said it saw a “clear rationale” for asking the Treasury to bring ESG ratings within its regulatory remit, and hinted at possible further regulatory interventions in the labelled debt market, while in August it said it would crack down on mislabelling and conflicts of interest in the alternatives sector.

While other regulators including BaFin and the SEC have opened investigations into asset managers over alleged greenwashing, the FCA is yet to formally investigate any cases or take punitive measures but has intervened informally with seven managers. It added greenwashing as a KPI in its three-year strategy, released in April, which will also see it look to improve the quality and quantity of sustainability disclosures and consumer trust in ESG products.

Interested parties should send a CV to esgac@fca.org.uk by 16 September.

The news comes as the former head of ESG at the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority takes up a new role at Danske Bank. Theodor Christensen, who spent three years at the regulator and established its sustainable finance and ESG team, will now be principal ESG compliance officer at Danske.