On 7 September 2022, the Decree implementation directives for investment firms and UCITS on sustainability risks and factors (Besluit implementatie richtlijnen voor beleggingsondernemingen en icbe’s inzake duurzaamheidsrisico’s en duurzaamheidsfactoren, the Decree) was published in the Dutch Government Gazette (Staatsblad).
The Decree implements Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1269 as regards the integration of sustainability factors into the product governance obligations and Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2021/1270 as regards the sustainability risks and sustainability factors to be taken into account for UCITS.
The Decree introduces the obligation for investment firms to take into account sustainability factors in their product governance process. An investment firm that distributes financial instruments must have adequate procedures and measures to ensure that such financial instruments meet the needs, characteristics and objectives of the target group, and this includes the sustainability objectives of the target group. The investment firm must periodically assess whether the financial instruments and the services it provides continue to meet the objectives of the target group and this includes the target group’s sustainability objectives.
Investment firms that manufacture financial instruments are required to inform distributing investment firms about the sustainability factors of the financial instrument, so that the distributing investment firm may distribute the financial instrument to the intended target group.
UCITS managers have to ensure that sustainability risks are integrated into its management as well as into its general investment policy, investment strategies, internal procedures for investment decisions and the risk management policy of each UCITS it manages. UCITS managers are required to have sufficient resources and expertise to support the integration of sustainability risks into internal processes and systems. This also applies when the UCITS manager outsources activities. In addition, a manager of a UCITS is required to take into account conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of the integration of sustainability risks. This includes conflicts of interest arising from remuneration or personal transactions of employees involved and conflicts of interest that may give rise to greenwashing, misselling or misrepresentation of investment strategies.
The rules for UCITS have entered into force on 8 September 2022. The rules for investment firms will enter into force on 22 November 2022.