The Just Transition Transaction (JTT) in Southeast Asia
Bharat Gangwani (SMU), Gireesh Shrimali (University of Oxford; Stanford University) and Rajiv B Lall (SMU) | Sep 2022 | Sustainable Finance

The Just Transition Transaction (JTT) was developed for South Africa to support its coal retirement and greening of its national utility, ESKOM. We first use South Africa as a reference case study to deconstruct the JTT and develop a framework of necessary and conducive features for its application to other countries. We then use this framework to evaluate the JTT’s suitability for supporting a green transition in key South-East Asian countries, specifically Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. We find that, while the JTT is suitable for Indonesia and Vietnam, it is not as suitable for the Philippines. Finally, we present a tiered JTT as a model to encourage a green transition at a supranational level and propose avenues for specific research to apply the JTT to Indonesia and Vietnam.


Impact Measurements and Standards: Academic and Practical Perspectives
Dave Fernandez and Wanyi Yang | Spring 2022 | Sustainable Finance

While trillions of dollars are invested in sustainability, little is known about whether these investments result in a positive impact. This article draws on work conducted at Singapore Management University and presents the difference between impact measurement and ESG ratings. It also discusses the recent initiatives from academics and practitioners and the challenges faced by impact measurement.


Harnessing Digitalization for Sustainable Economic Development: Insights for Asia
Edited by John Bernie (ADBI) and Dave Fernandez (SKBI) | Dec 2021 | Financial Technology

Digitalization has helped to transform economies by enhancing competitiveness and productivity across a wide range of sectors. The use of big data and the rise of online platforms have accelerated this process over the past decade. In addition, the adoption of digital solutions in the face of social distancing and lockdown measures introduced due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been integral to the economic recovery process. The shift to a digitalized economy has also reduced barriers to market entry for firms, lowered inequality, and led to a promotion of social and economic inclusion. Advances in digital technology have also had substantial positive impacts on the productive capacities of economies, helping to improve economic efficiency and long-run output growth potential.


Impact Measurement & Standards (White Paper)
Angeline Chua (SKBI), Hao Liang (SMU LKCSB) and Wanyi Yang (SKBI) | Dec 2021 | Sustainable Finance

A standardised impact measurement framework helps organisations accurately assess both positive and negative environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts of their business activities and investment. Singapore Green Finance Centre (SGFC) proudly presents its first whitepaper on ESG measurement and standardisation, building on its efforts co-developing an Impact-Weighted Account Framework (IWAF). It describes the stages involved in compiling impact-weighted accounts and uses examples to illustrate how organisations can apply the IWAF to their ESG impact measurement. This report also highlights the need to develop an Asia-focused IWAF due to the unique landscape of Asian economies.


ASEAN Development Outlook
ASEAN Secretariat (with contributions from SKBI research fellow, Marc Rakotomalala and SKBI Director, Dave Fernandez) | Jul 2021 | Financial Technology

The ASEAN Development Outlook (ADO) is the first report of its kind. In the inaugural report, an effort is made to chart progress towards inclusive and sustainable development in the ASEAN region, and to identify key challenges together with examples of best practices and candid analysis on lessons learned for future policy planning and programming. The SKBI working paper “Financial Technology and Inclusion in ASEAN” is referenced in this report, with contributions from SKBI research fellow, Marc Rakotomalala & SKBI Director, Dave Fernandez.


Sustainable Behaviour: How Individuals Practice Sustainability in their Everyday Lives
Marianna Kozintseva (Turning Point Macro; SKBI) and Alexey Gerasimovich (Knari Consulting) | Jul 2021 | Sustainable Finance

This paper summarizes the results of a field experiment carried out by Turning Point Macro and Knari Consulting In March 2021, whose goal is to understand how much attention individuals pay to climate change and to environmental and social responsibility - the considerations, which are swiftly becoming pivotal for corporate conduct. During the experiment, we have shared 82 short, sustainability-themed videos with 31 volunteers around the globe, asking them to watch the videos that caught their attention and to report their reactions. We have also conducted two user surveys - one in the middle, and one at the end of the experiment, asking the users about their daily sustainability routines and sustainability themes they identify the most with. We have found that sustainability is gaining traction worldwide: 90.3% of the users surveyed are now incorporating at least one sustainable practice into their daily routine. Not all sustainability aspects receive the same attention, however. While 68% of the users practice recycling and 52% work on improving the energy efficiency of their homes, only 13% check an ESG or governance rating when investing in a financial product. Among age groups, millennials show greater commitment to sustainability than the general population in 3 out of 5 sustainable behaviour categories.


Impact Assessment and Measurement with Sustainable Development Goals
Dave Fernandez (SKBI), Hao Liang (SMU LKCSB) and Mikkel Larsen (DBS) | Apr 2021 | Sustainable Finance

With the rapid growth of sustainable and responsible investment and widespread adoption of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting and integration by organizations, how to assess and measure ESG impact has become a critical issue. Although the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a useful framework for investors and organizations globally to align their standards, the SDGs are vague on how to implement them at an organizational or activity level. Current practice relies heavily on third-party ESG rating providers, whose scores mostly apply to public equities only. They also suffer from biases, inconsistencies, and a lack of sufficient disclosure. Impact measurement is an alternative that grew out of impact investing that extends beyond public equities and circumvents many of the drawbacks of ESG ratings. However, despite its increasing popularity, impact measurement is still in its infancy and lacks standards that can be generalized across various business activities. In this chapter, we propose a new framework for impact assessment and measurement, leveraging our practical experience working with industry leaders from Singapore (DBS Bank) and the Netherlands (Impact Institute). Our framework focuses on quantifying, valuing, and aggregating the different kinds of impact - direct vs. indirect, absolute vs. marginal - for different stakeholders, and is highly implementable. It also helps organizations map the impact from their activities on various stakeholders to different SDGs, thereby providing a generalizable approach for organizations across sectors and countries. We define our conceptual framework and illustrate how it may be applied with a case study on measuring the impact of bank loans on the palm-oil and automotive sectors.


Macroeconomic Stabilization in the Digital Age
Edited by John Bernie (ADBI) and Dave Fernandez (SKBI) | Nov 2020 | Financial Technology

Macroeconomic Stabilization in the Digital Age provides insights into factors affecting the macroeconomic management of the economy in the digital age. Policymakers need to be aware of the increasing prominence of the digital economy and digital finance and seek to better understand how continued digitalization will affect policies aimed at managing the economy. For emerging market economies (EMEs), macroeconomic policy challenges have been exacerbated by the digital finance revolution in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, when many EMEs experienced large and volatile capital flows. Policymakers must also navigate through fluctuating trends in productivity and difficulties in estimating potential output in the era of digitalization. The book is organized into three main parts: (1) digital finance and the macroeconomy, (2) capital flows and systemic risk in the digital age, and (3) macroeconomic uncertainty and new challenges for central banks. Part I is set against the context of the shift in financial intermediation away from traditional banks as large technology firms have increasingly provided financial services over the past decade. This part of the book focuses on the macroeconomic effects of digital finance and financial technology. Part II examines capital flow-related developments in the digital age, where the expansion in cross-border capital flow channels can create additional hurdles for EME authorities in managing capital flows. Finally, Part III relates the digital age to challenges faced by central banks and the implications of digitalization for the monetary policy transmission mechanism.


Financial Technology and Inclusion in ASEAN
Dave Fernandez and Marc Rakotomalala (SKBI) | Aug 2020 | Financial Technology

Financial technology (FinTech) has the potential to be a positive, game-changing force for boosting financial inclusion in ASEAN, as mobile money and greater access to basic financial services have the capacity to improve the economic well-being of households. Indeed, technology has been shown to drive broader increases in economic growth, which itself interacts positively with financial inclusion. In a more direct way, new, specific fintech developments globally and in ASEAN itself can be beneficial for financial inclusion. In this paper, we look at financial inclusion and technology, and how cooperative efforts between ASEAN policymakers, the private sector, and their broader communities can promote financial stability and inclusive growth through the deployment of fintech applications supported by cloud computing, big data analytics, the Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies.


Technical Review: Impact Measurement Project
Hao Liang and Phuong T.B. Nguyen (Singapore Management University) | Mar 2020 | Sustainable Finance

This report work was commissioned by DBS and SMU’s Sim Kee Boon Institute and serves as an evaluation of the Pilot Study on DBS Impact Measurement conducted by Impact Institute. This report was written by Professor Hao LIANG and Dr Phuong T.B. NGUYEN of Singapore Management University (SMU). Professor Dave Fernandez and Dr Junho PARK from SMU also made significant inputs into the report.


Sustainable Digital Finance in Asia: Creating Environmental Impact through Bank Transformation
Ryan K. Merrill (SMU), Simon JD Schillebeeckx (SMU LKCSB) and the Global Mangrove Trust with Sofie Blakstad (founder of hiveonline) | Jan 2019 | Sustainable Finance

This report work was commissioned by DBS, the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance, and UN Environment. This report was written by Ryan K. Merrill and Simon JD Schillebeeckx of Singapore Management University and the Global Mangrove Trust with Sofie Blakstad, founder of hiveonline.
Data is arguably the most valuable resource in the digital economy. Used effectively and responsibly it has the potential to serve as a driving force in creating a more sustainable world. The potential is especially potent in the financial sector given its central place in the financial system, and its access to and use of data.


The SKBI Big5 Survey
Sim Kee Boon Institute | Market Dynamics / Macro Economic Trends

The Sim Kee Boon Institute (SKBI) Big5 survey focuses on the multiyear outlook and assessment of the biggest five economies in the world, namely China, Euro Area, India, Japan and the United States. The Institute, via the Big5 survey and Post-Survey event, seeks to establish a recurrent platform for a diverse group of participants in Singapore to explore the relevant risks and opportunities surrounding the global economic landscape. For enquiries regarding the survey, please contact SKBI principal researcher, Thomas Lam (thomaslam [at] smu.edu.sg).

Read the reports: 2022 August2022 February2021 August2021 February2020 August2020 February2019 August


Survey of Professional Forecasters
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (with contributions from SKBI principal researcher, Thomas Lam) | Market Dynamics / Macro Economic Trends

The Survey of Professional Forecasters is the oldest quarterly survey of macroeconomic forecasts in the United States. The survey began in 1968 and was conducted by the American Statistical Association and the National Bureau of Economic Research. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia took over the survey in 1990. SKBI Principal Researcher, Thomas Lam, has been participating in the Survey of Professional Forecasters over the years.

Read the forecasts: 2022 Q42022 Q32022 Q22022 Q12021 Q42021 Q32021 Q22021 Q12020 Q4


The Livingston Survey
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (with contributions from SKBI principal researcher, Thomas Lam) | Market Dynamics / Macro Economic Trends

The Livingston Survey was started in 1946 by the late columnist Joseph Livingston. It is the oldest continuous survey of economists' expectations. It summarizes the forecasts of economists from industry, government, banking and academia. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia took responsibility for the survey in 1990. SKBI's Principal Researcher, Thomas Lam, has been participating in The Livingston Survey as the only Asian voice.

Read the forecasts: June 2022December 2021June 2021December 2020


Inflation Expectations in Perspective
Research Notes | Apr 2019 | Market Dynamics / Macro Economic Trends

Globally, central banks track different measures of inflation expectations to better understand the behaviour of current and future inflation. Although inflation expectations are hard to derive and measure, economists usually attempt to tease out the relevant information from surveys, models or market-based indicators.


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