Global securities lending associations form collaborative working group

The new Global Alliance of Securities Lending Associations (GASLA) announces group mission statement and publishes best practice voting guide.

By Jonathan Watkins
Five securities lending associations have formed a new collaborative global working group with an eye to advocating transparent and standardised practices around aspects of the market including environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and the digital evolution. 
The Global Alliance of Securities Lending Associations (GASLA) has also published its Best Practice Voting Guide to assist lenders seeking to align their securities lending programmes with broader ESG objectives. 
The association is made up of the International Securities Lending Association (ISLA), Canadian Securities Lending Association (CASLA), Pan Asia Securities Lending Association (PASLA), Risk Management Association (RMA), and the South African Securities Lending Association (SASLA). 
GASLA will look to provide a single voice across global securities lending markets. In a statement, it said it would focus on ESG and the important digital evolution that supports efficient, liquid, and sustainable capital markets. 
“As a collective global voice for the securities lending industry, GASLA seeks to enable positive and impactful engagement with stakeholders, including regulators, policymakers, and standard-setting bodies in all regions. GASLA was formed with inclusivity as a core principle and welcomes securities lending and financial markets associations globally,” the organisation said in a statement. 
Securities lending associations have played an increasingly prominent role in recent years following a wave of regulation hitting the space for the first time, and the practice coming under the spotlight in regard to ESG. 
In 2020, Global Custodian wrote a feature on ‘How ESG-friendly is securities lending?’ following the landmark move by Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), to suspend its $370 billion overseas equity portfolio, from securities lending after deeming the practice as ‘lacking transparency’, which sparked an industry-wide debate over sustainability and securities lending.