Monthly Archives: March 2016

It’s time to switch from managing disasters to reducing risk

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

THANKS;Christos Stylianides, ECHO

BRflood

A flooded amusement park is seen in the city of Franco da Rocha, in the north of Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

By Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

I am proud to celebrate the first anniversary of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which was adopted on March 18, 2015 at a major U.N. conference in Japan.

The Sendai Framework was the first milestone agreement of the 2030 Development Agenda and paved the way for agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals and the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Sendai agreement offers a new approach to disaster risk management policy and operations. The EU and its Member States played a central and assertive role in the…

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It’s time to switch from managing disasters to reducing risk

THANKS;Christos Stylianides, ECHO A flooded amusement park is seen in the city of Franco da Rocha, in the north of Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker Any views expresse…

Source: It’s time to switch from managing disasters to reducing risk

It’s time to switch from managing disasters to reducing risk

THANKS;Christos Stylianides, ECHO

BRflood

A flooded amusement park is seen in the city of Franco da Rocha, in the north of Sao Paulo state, Brazil, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

By Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

I am proud to celebrate the first anniversary of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction which was adopted on March 18, 2015 at a major U.N. conference in Japan.

The Sendai Framework was the first milestone agreement of the 2030 Development Agenda and paved the way for agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals and the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Sendai agreement offers a new approach to disaster risk management policy and operations. The EU and its Member States played a central and assertive role in the adoption of this new global framework.

The EU strongly supports the Sendai Framework’s extension of the traditional focus on natural hazards to include man-made hazards and associated environmental, technological and biological hazards, which brings it in line with progress made at European level in recent years.

The Union Civil Protection Mechanism – the main EU instrument for disaster risk management – addresses prevention, preparedness for, and response to, natural and man-made hazards as equal priorities. In our activities as a main humanitarian donor, resilience-building and disaster risk reduction have also become central components of our decision-making and funding allocations.

The EU has supported a shift from a traditional approach to disaster management to a new and more comprehensive focus on disaster risk management. At the heart of this new framework is the aim to prevent the creation of new risk and to reduce existing levels of disaster risk.

I want to see disaster risk management at the core of global sustainable development and climate change efforts. The escalation of economic losses from earthquakes and weather-related disasters is a serious setback for many developing countries, impacting negatively on their future development and taking money away from areas such as health and education.

The Sendai Framework sets clear targets to achieve substantial reductions in mortality, numbers of people affected, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure such as health facilities, schools, roads and public utilities. A key target calls for increased access to multi-hazard early warning systems, information and assessments.

In order to achieve these targets, it sets goals for ensuring there are more national and local strategies in place for disaster risk reduction which must be interwoven with national plans developed under the Paris Agreement to adapt to climate change.

It also calls for enhanced international cooperation for disaster risk reduction in developing countries, something which the EU has long endorsed and supported in its programming.

Equally, resilience building is key to reducing humanitarian aid worldwide, as is reflected by the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 remains in this regard the basis for a risk-informed and resilient sustainable development agenda. This is a priority for the EU.

EU ACTION PLAN

In fact, many of the Sendai recommendations are based on, and have wider implications for a number of existing EU policies – from climate change adaptation to resilient infrastructure and ecosystem-based solutions. The framework also introduces new elements and focus areas, which need to be linked to existing EU policies, and on which we will have to do more.

In particular, we will need to explore how best to link disaster risk reduction to the health and education sectors and the important question of cultural heritage. From an external perspective, it will be important to ensure that all financial assistance is risk-informed.

It is now important to identify how each policy can contribute to the Sendai objectives. We will soon come up with an EU Action Plan on the implementation of the Sendai Framework, building on what is already being undertaken at European level and explore what more should be done across the priorities for action of the Sendai Framework, in close cooperation with the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

These priorities for action have been developed based on the 10 year experience of implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action which preceded the Sendai Framework. These priorities are key to enabling disaster management agencies to move beyond improved disaster management to address the underlying disaster risks.

Those priorities provide a universal formula for resilience: understanding disaster risk; strengthening governance to manage disaster risk; investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and building back better.

We all need to support the switch to Sendai (#switch2sendai).

 

 

Chinese hedge funds scramble as regulators clean up ‘Wild East’

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

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China’s hedge fund industry has been thrown into disarray as managers rush to comply with stringent new rules, introduced overnight, that could see over half the industry shut down by August, fund managers and lawyers told Reuters.

Domestic and foreign hedge fund managers are scrambling to secure legal advice, hire qualified staff and launch new products in a bid to save their licenses after the regulator threatened last month to close down around 17,000 “phantom” fund managers as part of a broader government financial sector crackdown.

The new hedge fund rules aim to shrink a vast industry insiders describe as a “Wild East” rife with fraud.

But many in the industry say the measures are heavy-handed and rushed, threatening to suffocate much-needed domestic and foreign institutional investment as the country faces its slowest rate of growth in more than two decades.

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Chinese hedge funds scramble as regulators clean up ‘Wild East’

Thanks:  Michelle Price and Engen Tham / HONG KONG/SHANGHAI China’s hedge fund industry has been thrown into disarray as managers rush to comply with stringent new rules, introduced overnight…

Source: Chinese hedge funds scramble as regulators clean up ‘Wild East’

Chinese hedge funds scramble as regulators clean up ‘Wild East’

Thanks: 

s3.reutersmedia.net.jpg

China’s hedge fund industry has been thrown into disarray as managers rush to comply with stringent new rules, introduced overnight, that could see over half the industry shut down by August, fund managers and lawyers told Reuters.

Domestic and foreign hedge fund managers are scrambling to secure legal advice, hire qualified staff and launch new products in a bid to save their licenses after the regulator threatened last month to close down around 17,000 “phantom” fund managers as part of a broader government financial sector crackdown.

The new hedge fund rules aim to shrink a vast industry insiders describe as a “Wild East” rife with fraud.

But many in the industry say the measures are heavy-handed and rushed, threatening to suffocate much-needed domestic and foreign institutional investment as the country faces its slowest rate of growth in more than two decades.

“It is very difficult for the regulators to police such a vast landscape so now they’re trying to shake this number out,” said Effie Vasilopoulos, a partner at law firm Sidley Austin in Hong Kong.

“This is a sensible thing to do, but the risk is that in trying to recalibrate, the pendulum is swinging too far in the opposite direction.”

Hedge funds have attracted increased scrutiny in China amid fears the country’s relaxed registration-based licensing regime has allowed fraudsters and shadow-lenders to proliferate.

Private fund registrations more than doubled in 2015 to reach more than 25,000, according to data from the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC), a self-regulatory body that oversees private funds. Roughly two-thirds of these are “phantom” fund managers that have not launched a product, and may be using the registration for illegal fund-raising or lending, said AMAC.

While many “phantom” funds may have done nothing illegal, the AMAC license, a requirement for operating a hedge fund, has often been used as cover for fraudulent peer-to-peer lending platforms, industry insiders say. Some fraudsters also raise money upfront for a bogus fund that is never launched.

RAISING THE BAR

Last month on the eve of Chinese New Year, a week-long holiday in mainland China, AMAC said it was raising the bar with new risk management and qualification requirements.

There would also be penalties for tardy information disclosures and an obligation for new fund managers to obtain a legal opinion endorsing their operations – all with immediate effect.

The association said it would revoke the licenses of fund managers if they failed to launch products by two separate deadlines in May and August, sparking a race to save registrations, according to market participants.

“The new rules are going in the right direction, but the problem is that they were published just before Chinese New Year with immediate effect and short compliance deadlines,” said Ying White, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance’s China office.

“So there hasn’t been much time to get to grips with them, and there is still a lot of ambiguity in the rules.”

Although the rules spell boom times for lawyers, who can charge up to 100,000 yuan ($15,000) for a complex legal opinion, market insiders said they expect as many as 12,000 fund managers to de-register or be shut down.

Several managers listed by AMAC as having no products told Reuters they were working on new products in a bid to save the registration.

“We are aware of the new regulations,” said an employee at Shandong Province-based Ocean Brightstone Industrial Fund Management, who did not give their name. “We have new private fund products that we are currently working on.”

TALENT DEARTH

A new requirement for senior executives to have fund management qualifications and experience is also proving tricky, because there is not enough talent to go round, said one Shanghai-based banker who helps set up hedge funds.

“In the short-term it’s really annoying for my clients, but in the long-term it’s a good thing for the industry,” she said.

An employee at a small Shanghai hedge fund said the qualification requirement was causing headaches.

“At the moment we only have one person who has taken the test, but now one of my colleagues is rushing to take it,” she said. “Thankfully the test is not hard.”

AMAC did not respond to requests for comment, but one person familiar with its thinking said staff felt the association had approved too many funds and did not have proper oversight of the market.

This person confirmed AMAC, a state-run body supervised by China’s securities regulator and civil affairs ministry, had slowed approvals and was considering further restrictions.

Although the rules are aimed at domestic funds, they are also hitting foreign fund managers that have set-up onshore entities through special cross-border investment schemes, as well as foreign firms hoping to partner up with domestic funds.

One executive at a multi-billion dollar overseas hedge fund looking to set up such an arrangement said his firm had had to delay its launch plans following the rule changes.

“While attacking illegal entities, the restrictions are also impacting those funds that want to do real business,” said Elva Yu, a partner at Llinks Law Offices in Shanghai.

(Reporting by Michelle Price in Hong Kong and Engen Tham in Shanghai; additional reporting by Tris Pan in Hong Kong; Editing by Alex Richardson)