The development of the Asia Region Funds Passport has taken a further step following the signing of the Asia Region Funds Passport Statement of Understanding last week.

On 11 September 2015, Finance Ministers from Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand signed a Statement of Understanding at the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Cebu, the Philippines, on the Asia Region Funds Passport. The statement signals the commitment of these economies to join the Passport ahead of its commencement in 2016. The statement also notes the intention of signatories to ensure that all APEC economies are able to participate in the Passport when it begins or at a time appropriate to their circumstances.

In the Statement of Understanding, the Finance Ministers state that they:

  • share an intention to establish and participate in the proposed Passport which, once implemented, will facilitate the cross-border offering of eligible collective investment schemes in economies participating in the Passport;
  • share five goals relating to the financial, economic and regulatory outcomes for the Asia region regarding financial markets, investment opportunities and the management and distribution of collective investment vehicles; and
  • have certain shared intentions regarding the development and implementation of the Passport, including their intention to ensure that the Passport remains open for participation by subsequent eligible economies.

The next milestone will be the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation by participating securities regulators by the end of 2015.

According to the Commonwealth government's media release, members of the Asia Region Funds Passport Working Group (Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) and the funds management industry are now working on aspects of the region’s tax regimes to ensure the international competitiveness of the Passport.

Further information about the Passport is set out in our Minter Ellison Alert from 3 March 2015.