In June New Forests Asia (Singapore) attained its Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence, bolstering its capabilities as a Singapore-based fund manager. The licence is issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and affirms that New Forests Asia meets compliance standards to provide regulated financial services. Source: Timberbiz
The CMS Licence enables New Forests Asia to conduct funds management for accredited or institutional investment clients.
New Forests Asia was established in 2011 in Singapore as a wholly owned subsidiary of New Forests Pty Ltd (“New Forests”), the Australia-based investment manager specialising in sustainable forestry.
The New Forests Asia team includes eight professionals with expertise in forestry investment, operations, resource modelling, and asset management throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The team currently manages the New Forests Tropical Asia Forest Fund (TAFF), which includes investments in certified timber and rubber plantation businesses in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Laos.
“We feel it is beneficial to be licenced here in Singapore, from where we can lead asset management activities for our existing portfolio as well as set the stage for our continued growth in the region,” Managing Director Geoffrey Seeto said.
“Singapore is strategic to not only our operations in Asia but to our efforts to align with the rising call for sustainable finance in the region.”
MAS has noted that the ASEAN region needs an estimated US$200 billion per year of sustainable finance. Singaporean asset managers, like New Forests Asia, will be critical in mobilising this capital
“Part of New Forests’ mission is to be a conduit for institutional and impact investors to place capital into a more sustainable way of operating the region’s forestry businesses,” Mr Seeto said.
“While the broader Asian growth story is widely understood by investors, many are unaware of the region’s strategic role in global timber supply and demand and of the opportunity for the positive sustainable development and climate impacts that can be pursued alongside financial returns.”
To date, only a small portion of the more than US$100 billion global forestry investment market is invested in Southeast Asia, yet the region has emerged as an important source of wood fibre to meet its growing timber demand.
New Forests has championed sustainable forestry investment in Southeast Asia through the TAFF, which is the first and only institutional investment fund dedicated to sustainable forestry in the region.
“New Forests has been operating in Asia since 2008, and we’ve worked steadily to prove our original thesis that a sustainable finance approach to forestry in the region is viable,” Director of Operations Paul Speed said.
“We now have a diversified portfolio of forestry businesses, with different geographic and market exposures, and which are all certified for responsible forestry practices under the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council.
“Going forward, it is more apparent than ever that the region needs a well-capitalised and professionally managed plantation resource base. By investing in a strong plantation-based timber resource, processing infrastructure, and a skilled labour force for the sector, we can set the stage for Southeast Asia to be a leader in producing sustainable, renewable wood products and to be part of the nature-based solution to climate change.
“This kind of investment bodes well not just for Singapore’s financial sector but also for region’s green growth and a prosperous future.”