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Summreen Mahween

Having trained at the firm’s London office, Summreen Mahween is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group.

She works on a range of transactional and commercial matters, predominantly advising public and private companies on mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructurings, commercial advisory work, and general corporate governance. Whilst her clients are wide-ranging, Summreen has a particular focus on the life sciences and technology industries.

Summreen also has significant experience in financial services and regularly writes about, and advises on, ESG-related developments in the banking sector. Her pro bono work principally consists of advising non-profit organisations on various Business and Human Rights matters.

On 26 June 2023, the International Sustainability Standards Board (“ISSB”) published its inaugural International Financial Reporting Standards Sustainability Disclosure Standards (the “ISSB Standards”) (read our previous blog post on this here).  In August 2023, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) published Primary Market Bulletin 45, confirming its intentions to update its climate-related disclosures

On 26 June 2023, the International Sustainability Standards Board (the “ISSB”) issued its inaugural International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) Sustainability Disclosure Standards (the “Standards”), heralding progress in the development of a global baseline of sustainability-linked disclosures. The Standards build on the concepts that underpin the IFRS Accounting Standards, which are required in more than 140 jurisdictions, but notably not in the United States for domestic issuers subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), which must apply US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“US GAAP”).  Despite broad investor appetite for  transparent, uniform and comparable disclosure rules, the scope of required sustainability disclosure and timing for adoption of the SEC’s pending climate disclosure rule remains unresolved.

  1. IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information (“IFRS S1”) requires an entity to disclose information about all sustainability-related risks and opportunities that could reasonably be expected to affect the entity’s prospects. The effect on the entity’s prospects refers to the effect on the entity’s cash flows, its access to finance, or cost of capital over the short, medium or long term.
  2. IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures (“IFRS S2”) requires an entity to provide information about its exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities. Information to be disclosed includes both physical risks—such as extreme weather events—as well as transition risks, such as changes in customer behaviour.

Both IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 are effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2024. Accordingly, where the Standards have been adopted for a 2024 reporting cycle, relevant disclosures will begin to be published in 2025 in an entity’s general purpose financial reports (subject to transitional provisions), alongside an “explicit and unreserved statement of compliance” when disclosing against the Standards. Whilst the launch of the Standards has been a welcome step, seeking to provide greater uniformity in corporate reporting, individual jurisdictions will decide whether entities will be required to comply with the Standards.Continue Reading ISSB issues inaugural global sustainability disclosure standards

FCA Issues Reminder on Board and Executive Management D&I Disclosure Obligations

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has provided a reminder to primary market participants in its Primary Market Bulletin 44 of the need to make diversity and inclusion-related (“D&I”) disclosures in their annual reports. The obligations were introduced last year through amendments to the Listing Rules  and the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules (“DTRs”), as set out in the FCA’s Policy Statement PS 22/3 (and covered in our previous blog post here).

At a glance, the amendments to the Listing Rules oblige in-scope companies to disclose annually on a “comply or explain” basis whether they meet specific board diversity targets, and to publish standardised data on the composition of their board and senior management, in each case in relation to sex or gender and ethnic background.

Changes to the corporate governance rules were introduced (through the amendments to the DTRs) to encourage a broader consideration of diversity at a board level, including with respect to a wider pool of diversity characteristics, spanning ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and socio-economic background

The rules are intended to increase transparency with better, more comparable information on the diversity of companies’ boards and executive management. The FCA believes that greater transparency will provide improved data for companies and investors to assess progress in this area, and inform shareholder engagement and investment decisions, thereby enhancing market integrity and promoting greater D&I.Continue Reading FCA Primary Market Bulletin No. 44

On 20 April 2022, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) published its Policy Statement PS 22/3 on disclosures regarding diversity and inclusion targets for the boards and executive committees of UK-listed companies. These measures reflect the growing importance of  Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) considerations, and have gained particular traction in the financial services sector,

Like many companies in other sectors, oil and gas companies are increasingly confronted with the need to address Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) imperatives in their businesses.  Traditionally viewed as ‘license to operate’ issues—effectively ensuring that companies continued to have ‘social permission’ to operate—these considerations have assumed an ever-greater importance as companies face both an accelerating energy transition and increased shareholder activism and government regulation. But, whilst many companies are keen to demonstrate their ESG credentials, they are hampered in doing so effectively by an absence of globalised standardised ESG metrics.

The OGA’s ESG Task Force

In response to these competing tensions operating on oil and gas companies, the UK’s Oil and Gas Authority (“OGA”) convened a Task Force to set out a number of disclosure and investor reporting requirements for operators and licensees. Whilst those recommendations will not create any regulatory or mandatory reporting obligations for UK oil and gas companies, the UK Government will closely examine them and may use them as guidelines for any potential future legislation in this area.

The Task Force’s initial focus was on the ‘E’ of ESG. In its report on March 8, 2021, it made a number of recommendations for reporting requirements for companies, including:

  • Requiring operators and licensees to disclose climate related data in their financial reports, and/or websites;
  • Calling on the industry to be mindful of the gap between investor expectations and what is currently reported, encouraging greater disclosure & transparency;
  • Stipulating that disclosure should be both quantitative and qualitative with signalled improvements over time; and
  • Encouraging senior leadership teams to model the required behaviors internally.

Continue Reading ESG in the Energy Sector

The UK Government recently announced that it is developing legislation that would make it illegal for large businesses operating in the UK to use certain commodities that have not been produced in line with local laws, and require in-scope companies to conduct due diligence to ensure that their supply chains are free from illegal deforestation