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The New World of ESG Compliance and Communications in Asia Pacific

September 19, 2023

Patrick Yu, GM, SVP and Senior Partner, FleishmanHillard Hong Kong

The global landscape for environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting is in the midst of rapid transformation, driven by new standards and evolving regulations while pressed by broad-based demand for greater transparency and accountability, and all set against a backdrop of a growing number of investment decisions being shaped by ESG considerations.

Investors of all stripes (institutional, pension, private equity etc.) plus other stakeholders want clarity and consistency in the ESG audit process so they can make the correct investment decisions. Many already undergo due diligence on ESG credentials before putting money into funds, M&As or other company financings, but they want to use standardized measures as a foundation.

In our new report, The New World of ESG Compliance and Communications in Asia Pacific, we look at the new standards benchmarks for ESG Reporting from the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). We also take a look at the readiness of companies and different jurisdictions to adopt them.

The stakes are high. Bloomberg Intelligence reports that ESG investable assets surpassed $35 trillion in 2020 and could reach $50 trillion by 2025 – that’s about one-third of projected assets under management globally. For fund managers and investors to be absolutely confident in the integrity of the ESG products they sell or buy is paramount.

In our Future of Asset Management in Asia report released earlier this year, we found that 80% of investors place a high value on strong ESG product offerings, especially those in mainland China (90%) and Hong Kong (80%).

Why effective ESG communication is essential

In June, the ISSB issued its first two standards that set a new global benchmark for such reporting. In parallel, regulators in the U.S., EU and Asia Pacific are moving ESG disclosures from voluntary to mandatory. The moves add up to rapid change and genuine progress in ESG reporting.

Essential to this are effective ESG-related communications – a true business imperative. Besides meeting compliance requirements, companies must craft compelling ESG narratives that satisfy diverse stakeholder expectations.

Many companies are in fact well underway in upgrading their ESG reporting processes. Almost all (99%) of S&P 500 companies voluntarily publish ESG reports in some form, while 85% of Hong Kong-listed companies disclose details of climate-related risks and mitigation measures. That said, disclosure is not uniform across jurisdictions, of which few require independent auditing of claims.

The two new ISSB standards cover general sustainability-related risks and opportunities, and climate-related disclosures. Both are voluntary and apply after Jan. 1, 2024, with implementation by jurisdictions in Asia Pacific and the EU likely by 2025.

In Asia, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) became one of the first in the world to announce plans to align with the new ISSB standards, which include new mandatory climate-related disclosures that supersede the current “comply or explain” system. In Singapore, the stock exchange is taking a phased approach to mandatory climate reporting, applying these rules in stages across different industry sectors.

ESG implications and next steps

It’s clear that investors increasingly seek sustainable investments in response to greater awareness of climate change, energy security and ethical finance. Fortuitously for them, higher ESG performance is also seen to correlate with lower risk and better long-term profitability.

So, what are the implications for business leaders in the Asia Pacific?

  1. Regulatory changes and investor demand for new reporting standards mean sustainability information is rising to an equal footing with financial information.
  2. Stricter reporting guidelines and investor scrutiny mean ESG is more integral to corporate communications strategies, so it is vital to develop a strong narrative.
  3. Regulatory trickle-down will hit businesses caught up in the supply chain of companies that need to be ESG compliant, with the key sticking point being Scope 3 emissions.
  4. Regulators worldwide are committed to interoperability and seek an alignment of ESG standards to ease the reporting burden for companies and aide investor decision making.
  5. Companies doing business in Asia Pacific are rightly focused on compliance with ESG reporting standards and regulations as disclosure moves from voluntary to mandatory.

We recommend eight steps to prepare for ESG-driven transformation:

  1. Begin now: ESG reporting is more and more urgent; companies have limited time to comply.
  2. Explore sentiment: perception studies help identify investor sentiment and views on corporate ESG performance.
  3. Build trust: assess your data for alignment with applicable mandatory and voluntary frameworks and identify gaps and actions.
  4. Talk to investors: integrate ESG messaging for more active investor relations.
  5. Tell compelling stories: refresh and update narratives and communications materials around ESG.
  6. Inspire collaboration: use internal communications to improve staff knowledge of relevant ESG standards.
  7. Plan for the worst: prepare for ESG-related risks such as a greenwashing accusation, non-compliance or action by consumer or shareholder activists.
  8. Stay on track: monitor the development of global and local ESG standards.

Asia’s multiple jurisdictions create opportunities and challenges in ESG compliance and communications. Having a trusted advisor will help you navigate the complexity of the ESG landscape in the future.


How to Attract and Retain the Next Generation of Talent

July 27, 2023
By Paul Vosloo

A New Approach to the Employee Value Proposition

Gallup recently published its State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report and the results are grim. Engagement has dropped another 2% in the U.S., with employees continuing to check out at record levels.

In fact, according to Gallup, the majority of your employees (60%) are disengaged at work — with 18% actively disengaged.

This means most of your workforce is simply putting in a less than optimal effort to drive your business forward — and probably looking for another job. While nearly a fifth of your employees are actively doing harm by undercutting business goals and railing against leaders.

What’s going on?

The truth is companies leaned heavily on their employees during and after the pandemic – and employees, particularly Gen Z, are pushing back and reshaping their relationship with their employer.

They want more flexibility and autonomy. A focus on mental well-being. A better work-life balance. And to work for companies whose purpose and values align with theirs.

And while most organizations have recognized this fundamental shift, the empathy gap between workers and company leaders is now bigger than ever. As the WSJ put it, “rarely have bosses and workers been so at odds over so much.”

Rebuilding employee trust and engagement.

Organizations need to rebuild employee trust and engagement. Particularly with the 60% of employees who are disengaged. When you think about it, they’re your greatest opportunity for growth if you can re-engage them by clearly reinforcing and rearticulating your promise and aligning them behind it.

The most effective way to express that promise is through an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), conveying your unique offering as an employer (“the gets”), balanced with the expectations (“the gives”) for prospective and current talent.

However, the truth is EVPs have been around for a long time and frankly many of them are too transactional, vague and generic. More important, they often don’t authentically reflect the actual lived experience of your employees.

Which is why FleishmanHillard has taken a new approach.

A new approach to fulfilling your employee promise.

In our report “Unlock the Power of your EVP: Fulfilling Your Brand Promise to Talent,” we highlight how the conversation has shifted from compensation and benefits to one that reflects employees’ new expectations. An EVP that:

  • Clearly articulates what you value, and what you value in others, in an authentically human voice.
  • Explains how you provide employees with opportunities to grow.
  • Tells the story of who you are and what you stand for, highlighting your commitment to shared purpose.
  • Represents your vision for the candidate and employee experience – from entry to exit. 
  • Spells out your expectations of employees in creating a safe, caring and inclusive workplace.
  • Maps out how you’re empowering employees to make well-being a priority and find balance in their personal and professional lives.

The human deal.

This new approach to EVP calls for a human deal that recognizes employees as people, not just workers, and delivers on attributes that allow the integration of an individual’s employee experience and life experience. The nine elements to get right:

1. Well-being

  • Compensation and Benefits: Am I rewarded fairly? Do my benefits and compensation align with my skills and experience?
  • Work/Life Balance: Am I able to balance and integrate my personal and professional life? Am I able to perform my job wherever I am?
  • Safe and Efficient Workplace: Is the technology effective? Do I feel both physically and psychologically safe?

2. Growth

  • Recognition: Am I acknowledged and rewarded for good work?
  • Advancement: Do I have opportunities to learn, grow and advance my career?
  • Pride and Affiliation: Am I proud of my company? Can I grow as my company grows? Does it provide me with challenging and meaningful work on prestigious projects?

3. Belonging

  • Belonging: Do I feel a sense of belonging? Is my firm inclusive and diverse? Do I feel accepted?
  • Culture: Does my company have a positive, collaborative and inspiring workplace culture?
  • Purpose: Is my company committed to having a positive impact on society? Does my company’s purpose and values align with mine?

Of course, the work doesn’t end with mapping out the EVP itself. From top to bottom, leaders throughout the organization need to understand the company’s EVP strategy and the role they play in bringing it to life for their teams.

This requires thoughtful approaches that continue to inform, equip, align and engage leaders at all levels in making your EVP a lived experience, not just words on a page. Managers, as employees’ most sought-out and most trusted sources of information, are a particularly critical link in this chain.

With these considerations addressed, the EVP should and can be a strategic brand platform and an essential component of your corporate business strategy. Whether you’re just about to define your EVP or refresh an existing one, if done right, it can drive performance and profits, with noticeable improvements in important business metrics, such as turnover, absenteeism and accidents.

A strong EVP has the power to transform your disengaged workers into motivated and engaged employees aligned with your business priorities.

Paul Vosloo leads the Talent & Transformation team out of FleishmanHillard’s New York office.


TickTockTech: How to Create a Leading Event in an AI and Machine Learning Filled Landscape

July 24, 2023
By Elizabeth Hayes and Jared Carneson

In an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) filled world, competition is fierce. The will to ethically utilize the problem-solving, efficiency-boosting and humanlike tech has found its way to the forefront of business strategies globally and the race to successfully integrate it to optimize operations is on.

We’re now seeing these intelligent machines emerge with immense impact on our daily lives. Its limitless potential and accessibility is empowering just about anyone to give the tech a go. Experts have high expectations for AI, with digital advances believed to range from personalized medical care to environmental sustainability by 2035 (PEW Research). These systems also come with risk and worry of what they could lead to — from misinformation to unemployment.

There’s plenty to unpack when it comes to AI and ML — the good, the bad and the ugly — and industry conferences and events are becoming a hub to talk tech. It’s a crowded landscape, and every AI and ML event is trying to stand out. But as you try to navigate the dense environment, there are a few key findings that can help make for an impactful event.

Plan for the Specific Needs of In-person and Virtual Media Attendees

The pandemic pushed us into a hybrid event model where a virtual component is now the expectation, no longer the exception. And though virtual events open the door to borderless media attendance, content must be engaging and thought provoking, especially when seemingly everyone is trying to talk about AI. We need to keep media tuned into the live stream. Remember: it’s easy to click to another browser and start multitasking. We want to prevent that from happening.

But lest we forget, in person events are back, and while it’s not as easy to walk out of an exhibit hall mid presentation as it is to exit a livestream, media have busy and ever-changing schedules. We want to remain on their calendars and need dynamic, immersive experiences to draw in their RSVPs. 

Through a strategic approach, events can be mutually beneficial for both reporters — whether onsite or from the comfort of their home office — and for your brand. So, when you’re in the early stages of planning, be sure to ask yourself a few key questions that can help shape that strategy: Is this session best served as a livestream or can I make it more engaging through an in-person session? Are there any partnerships that can be leveraged to enhance discussion or reach an expanded audience? What is the key differentiator of my AI event from others, and am I clearly articulating that in external communications?

Create a Unique Angle, Specific to Your Audience

We know the AI and ML event landscape is packed, and it’s becoming increasingly challenging to make a lasting impression. In fact, since November 2022, 98% of tech-centric events shifted their focus to AI and ML regardless of it being part of their strategy prior. But as events look to include AI as a unique driving factor in its core narrative, it ends up having the opposite affect — it eliminates differentiation.

So, what’s the solve? Organizations need to be strategic in their event approach and carve out space in an oversaturated AI environment. Recognizing that not all AI is created equal is key and making a point to understand your audience and shift the broader AI conversation to a targeted, niche dialog can make a big impact.

Develop Your Post-event Strategy Early

Pre-event traction is a given, post-event relevance is not. A post-event strategy is critical to maintain your audience once the hype dwindles and the event wraps. To bring some longevity to your event, know what stories to tell and where to tell them. To achieve this, map your narrative and internal stories to how the topic is being covered in the news, along with your target audience’s news consumption habits. With this data at hand, you can tell high-impact stories that not only break through to your audience but move them to action.

Focus on High-level Content and Engagement Over Celebrities

Despite what you’ve seen, A-list stars don’t drive event attendance or talkability. Their keynote or live performance won’t convince experts to register. The truth is, audience-centric content, thought-provoking conversations and networking opportunities with like-minded professionals will. These attendees are eager to collaborate and hear unique perspectives on various AI topics; and they were likely interested before you announced your headlining celebrity. Don’t use up your budget on a high-profile guest.

So, instead of an award-winning actor, bring in subject matter experts who will encourage ideas and innovation, or industry thought leaders who will initiate discussions around groundbreaking AI advances. If agenda content and the experience is tailored to your target audience, attendance will follow suit.

Navigating an inflating AI and ML event landscape will continue to be an uphill battle, so long as innovations continue and use-case breakthroughs emerge. There’s room for everyone and every AI event to have a seat at the table if you plan accordingly, carve out space in an inundated AI event environment, take a driven approach to reaching the right audience and bring in relevant thought leaders to encourage engaging conversations.


Sustainability, Communications & Climate Confusion

July 20, 2023

This month, FH London’s climate and sustainability unit reveal whether today’s shopper is still prioritising sustainability as part of their purchasing decisions and what they want to hear from brands and businesses when it comes to sustainability claims on pack.

Despite today’s tough economic climate, encouragingly over half (55%) still feel that sustainability is important with 51% prepared to pay more for products with an environmental benefit. Consumers are also clear about where they want brands to focus their efforts, namely around recyclability, reduced waste and less plastic.

The post Sustainability, Communications & Climate Confusion appeared first on United Kingdom.


The Changing Tides of E-Commerce: Where the Consumer Now Lives

July 12, 2023
By Connor Mahon

E-commerce, while hardly a nascent industry, has yet to meet peak maturation. Like most grumpy teens, it’s still communicating in monosyllabic grunts — but this won’t cut the mustard in a landscape dominated by rapidly evolving technologies, sustainability issues and ethics concerns. It’s time for e-commerce businesses to step up their comms strategies to cement their places as the future of retail. All in, e-commerce platforms should rethink their core purpose in a circular economy, one which is rooted in ethics and sustainability principles. It is critical for brands to not only listen to their consumers but to respond — whether that be through investment in technology to improve the customer experience, or to hang some big brand goals around sustainability. In a world where culture is currency, the ones that can’t keep pace with shifting demands and expectations won’t survive.

Is Retail Really Innovating?
Investment in technology went into hyper speed as brick-and-mortar stores shuttered in the face of COVID-19, and it shows no sign of slowing. Innovation and transformation that previously would have taken years, happened overnight. While this has helped spur the next generation of multichannel touchpoints, it presents its own problems. The everyday consumer has yet to truly understand the benefits technologies such as chatbots, analytics and AI can bring them. Consumers expect seamless interactions that ultimately benefit them; whether it’s personalized recommendations, loyalty programs or easier, more efficient check-out. The businesses that can articulate their brand promise will, ultimately, be the ones that win out.

E-commerce businesses need to be clear about how and why they are using technology to improve the customer experience; they need to think about what true innovation is. It could be argued that solutions are tacked on without any real thought, just a simple application of technology that already exists — we must question what the real revolution in e-commerce will be in this era of digital transformation.

Commitment Issues
This piecemeal approach to e-commerce needs an overhaul – one that is cemented in the commitment to become vital to consumers through far deeper levels of connection, both online and offline. Delivering on this vision requires companies to put e-commerce strategies at the center of their organizations so they can choreograph experiences that meet customers’ ever-rising expectations.

But this is no pipe dream. Some brands are generating vast amounts of revenue through a continued commitment to digital transformation and they’re doing it quickly. And it isn’t just legacy players doing so; newer entrants lack the burden of disparate, siloed systems and can, therefore, be much nimbler in attaining their goal of being true customer-led, digital-first platforms. However, many others continue to languish in an innovation no-man’s land for fear of cost, change and concerns — or more accurately, a combination of all three.

Know Your Consumers
The consumer experience is rapidly evolving from a transactional process focused simply on shopping and buying, to a model built on deep, enriching relationships at every step of the customer journey. Retailers and brands must become a key staple in their consumers’ lives. But first, they need to build a sophisticated understanding of the way consumers live, eat, shop, work and play — and use this knowledge to provide value in the right place, at the right time, via the right channels.

An experience-led consumer journey is no small feat. It will require a consumer-centric view of the entire business, from supply chain and operating model to content and marketing, all the while being propped up by technology ecosystem powered by real-time consumer data. With a marriage between infrastructure and brand, the e-commerce of tomorrow is ripe for the taking today.


Proptech Has A Communications Problem

June 14, 2023
By Matthew Caldecutt

Given time, tech finds a way to disrupt. And the real estate industry is a great example as it’s in the midst of its own disruption. However, what’s behind it – property technology or “proptech” – isn’t easily defined in a way that the savvy communicator can leverage for maximum media impact. A situation in which many emerging technologies and disruptive industries find themselves these days. In the case of proptech, it’s presented as an agglomeration of many different types of tech used in different ways within the space for a wide variety of purposes. Last year, for example, BuiltIn cited Forbes contributor Mike Shapiro’s definition: “The underlying technology that real estate professionals, underwriters, developers, property managers, title companies, banks and others use to manage and improve real estate transactions from start to finish.” That doesn’t help us as much as that would-be data, which is what every forward-looking technology needs these days. After all, data accessible through the internet is pretty much the underpinning of everything tech. So, how might we define proptech in a way that better represents what it sets out to accomplish and reinforces why others need to pay attention to the proptech sector?

Let’s start by looking at some of the other definitions that come a little closer to ones that might help with positioning the industry. Instead of focusing almost exclusively on the transactional component, for instance, it might be more accurate to think of proptech as “a set of technologies that transforms the way we design, build, sell, inspect and operate real estate.” [Source: NYCEDC] While that’s better, it also comes with the risk of pigeonholing proptech as everything technology-related that enhances real estate. The Pratt Institute, which recently hosted a proptech award ceremony, went a bit further in one direction related to this description, focusing on how proptech “manages the building life cycle” and for that, you need “Smart Building Technology.” If you combine the two, proptech then might be considered the interactions that take place around property that has been enhanced through technology. However, that’s still not entirely accurate as there are other elements that need to be represented if proptech is going to be seen as a technological force in its own right. Let’s consider what else should be part of a definition.

What is proptech?

  1. Proptech is a new way of thinking about real estate: It’s the developers who have sketched out a new platform for property management on a napkin at the diner where they’ve hatched their business plan.
  2. Proptech is leveraging innovation to make what’s old new again: It’s figuring out ways to retrofit pre-war buildings with technologies that make the last mile of package delivery more seamless or reduce carbon emissions by replacing the stalwart steam radiators.
  3. Proptech is creating financial connections between members of the real estate ecosystem: It’s re-setting how owners and tenants interact from a monetary standpoint – from how payments are made to connecting payment to a rewards mechanism.
  4. Proptech is making management for transparent: It’s replacing the manual way of handling things with interfaces accessible from multiple devices and available to those who are a part of the maintenance process.

So, it’s obvious that proptech requires easily understood and comprehensive definition in order to communicate its value more accurately to the various stakeholders that will use it. If it’s not clear who the intended audience is and how it’s defined is too fluid, there’s not going to be much confidence in it as a force in the marketplace. In other words, while it’s ultimately going to be used by everyone from property owners to tenants and everyone in between, it’s not just data, nor about the money spent, nor about a rent check paid, etc. How can we do that in a way that makes it accessible and useful simultaneously?


Five Steps Business Leaders Should Take Now While Exploring AI Adoption Within Their Organization

June 13, 2023
By Josh Rogers

Business leaders who follow recent AI developments likely have experienced a dizzying array of reactions, ranging from marveling at the technology’s potential to knee-buckling anxiety as they consider its risks and the efforts that lie ahead. Our new report, “Generative AI Game-Changing Technology, Warranting Effective Change Management” outlines the potential — and inherent risks — of AI.

Here are five steps leaders can consider to move past the handwringing and begin preparing the organization for the future AI will bring.


Generative AI is still young, but so much has occurred since its advent. And more is rapidly changing every day. As a leader in your organization — especially if communications, HR and people management are within your remit —

start following the topic now.

  • To familiarize yourself with trends and current thinking, seek out and follow technology and business management thought leaders covering the topic. Many, if not most, major news outlets already feature “experts” who generate almost daily content on the topic.
  • Seek out other knowledgeable voices to help you think through the implications for your organization. Fair warning: This will be a constant pursuit. But take heart: There certainly are more mundane topics that require your attention — but maybe none so important.
  • Engage your organization’s legal counsel to manage risks and mitigate litigation. And remember not to enter any generative outputs into public domain without their guidance.

With this technology’s disruptive potential — both positive and negative — and its remarkable momentum, now is the time to understand AI and its implications for your business.


It’s likely — especially if you work in a large enterprise — that several members of your organization already are knowledgeable about and using AI. Assemble a team with representation from communications, marketing, HR, IT, information security, legal, compliance/policy, procurement and ethics (or the equivalent teams within your business) to help guide your organization through its AI journey. Given the potential impact and continuing evolution of this technology, consider appointing a full-time project management organization (PMO) to drive this effort. Also bring in experts from such corporate efforts as DE&I and ESG to help figure out the potential impact on them. Make sure your team is diverse, providing a range of experiences and thinking. And if you are aware of early AI adopters who don’t necessarily have formal leadership roles, consider including them on the team or as a touchstone. They can add valuable perspective — and their participation can serve as a professional development opportunity.

This effort ultimately will require an executive sponsor — the No. 1 key to successful change — to signal its importance to the entire organization and to set the tone and vision going forward.


Business leaders should work to understand AI considerations specific to their business. The AI leadership team (referenced above) can help determine: Who in the organization currently is using AI to do their jobs? How are they using it? How could we be using it in ways we are not already to work better, faster and more efficiently? What will it take for us to use AI in this manner? What can we achieve with the resources and structure currently in place? What are we missing? What do we need? What are the specific risks to our organization? What guardrails, restrictions or policies do we need to ensure appropriate use of this technology for our business? And they can identify other AI-related issues that could impact your organization.


Although the process of charting the AI path forward for your organization will be a long-term endeavor requiring a significant level of analysis and decision-making, it’s important for business leaders to begin immediately. The reputation and business risks of inappropriate or misuse are significant. The rapid growth of AI and its many applications requires immediate and constant attention — with always more to learn. If they haven’t already, leaders should immediately begin working with the multidisciplinary AI team and the information and perspectives they surface to start understanding which approaches are and are not acceptable within the organization. They will need to quickly develop and communicate guidelines, guardrails and policies.

Consider how open the organization should be to the use of generative AI. Determine where the enterprise is willing to experiment. You will want to think about what “experimenting” looks like for your organization (e.g., will you establish a protected testing environment, such as a “sandbox” with security measures and perimeter, etc.). Evaluate the aspects of your business that must be protected and your risk tolerance. And contemplate how this technology can better equip and empower employees to advance the company’s purpose, mission, vision and values.


If the organization has in-house change management capabilities, include them on the multidisciplinary team. Absent in-house capabilities, enlist the help of third-party change-management experts. They can help your key AI decision-makers stay abreast of the latest developments and think through the potential implications — and steps needed — for your organization.

Do not underestimate the importance of people-first change communications. Those who are trained to understand and have experience with this essential facet of change management can help align and reinforce the behavior changes needed to adopt the technology and measure their effectiveness.


Five Trends to Help Navigate Media Relations in 2023 Q2

June 6, 2023

With emerging technology such as generative AI on the rise, it’s more important than ever to stay ahead of important trends. The latest edition of the FleishmanHillard Global Media Trend Hunters Guide looks at how technology is likely to change the way newsrooms work. In this Q2 guide, we take a deep dive into Substack, the state of podcasting, changes in local news and more.

Check out our Global Media Trend Hunters Report for our expertise on how to navigate media relations.


TickTockTech: Leaders cautious, yet optimistic about cybersecurity spend this year

May 24, 2023
By Matthew Caldecutt

Attendees at the recently concluded IT security-focused RSA Conference emerged with a positive outlook for the cybersecurity sector despite challenging macroeconomic conditions. New technologies are introducing new threats. In fact, there’s been a surge in at least one type of attack, leading to the expectation that cybersecurity budgets will remain stable or increase. Instead of developing technologies to combat what arises one threat at a time, the sector is beginning to shift its security approach to be more proactive and less reactive — beginning with a more comprehensive defense at the various entry points where issues can emerge.

During the official program and among those on site, a number of discussions were had about a key development: the impact of generative artificial intelligence (AI), as well as zero-day exploits (those being discovered well before vendors are aware), which contributed to the positive sentiment. Generative AI, for example, has been a boon to numerous industries, including security professionals. For them, like others, it’s a means for improving productivity. But, at the same time, generative AI makes it easier for new bad actors to emerge. Meanwhile, the increasing use of zero-day exploits due to the current geopolitical climate is something to which chief security information officers (CISOs) of large, international companies need to pay close attention. Anywhere you’re doing business is somewhere that you might be vulnerable.

Contributions made by businesses at the conference also provided an indication as to the direction in which the industry is heading, including:

  • The need to prevent threats such as the ones resulting from the employment of generative AI and zero-day exploits more holistically.
  • The benefit of platforms instead of point solutions, which could pave the way for more comprehensive strategies
  • The concept of extended detection and response (XDR), which is a natural outgrowth of a platform mentality – the ability to monitor across the board to prevent problems.
  • The need for unified security across systems – necessary to keep out miscreants before they can enter and cause issues. 

And while a broader perspective on security is necessary, the technology that plugs into various systems deployed by businesses was also a concern. In the coming year, it’s clear that how employees interact with systems and the information they need must be protected even more.

Overall, what’s happening in the world today clearly calls for keeping a careful eye out for what’s potentially going to be an issue down the line. As a result, IT security leaders are taking steps to create options that can be more easily used to look ahead and guard multiple entry points into what should be secure systems. Fewer and more comprehensive products will ultimately be where investments are made.


Asian Investors Diversify Portfolios to Build Resilience During Volatility,
New FleishmanHillard Report on Asset Management in Asia Shows

May 8, 2023

Credibility and Performance Continue to be the Key Criteria for Selecting Asset Managers

HONG KONG – Asian investors are becoming increasingly risk averse and seeking to diversify their portfolios to improve resilience during this period of market volatility, according to FleishmanHillard’s The Future of Asset Management in Asia 2023.

Published together with the agency’s TRUE Global Intelligence practice, the report features analysis drawn from an online survey of Asian investors. The report also includes an overview of the latest trends in Asia’s asset management industry.

The 2023 Asia report shows that Asian investors view inflation and stagflation as their biggest financial risk (50%) in 2023, triggering them to diversify their investments to build resilient portfolios. Despite equities funds (67%) and fixed income funds (56%) continuing to be the most frequently traded asset classes among this audience, the number of investors who said that they traded or invested in equities funds declined 10 percentage points from a year earlier. In addition, a number of investors said that they traded or invested in cryptocurrencies and other digital assets (39% in Asia excluding mainland China) and private equity funds (28%). Around half (47%) of investors in the region said they have used ChatGPT or other AI tools to provide them with guidance and advice. However, 54% of the investors who have used ChatGPT or other AI tools said that it was not helpful in investment decision making.

“During this current period of high volatility across global capital markets, we’ve seen growing interest from investors for private equity, alternatives and even semi-liquid products. This presents growing opportunities for asset managers to double down on their efforts on product diversification and innovation to appeal to investors’ interests,” said Patrick Yu, Asia Pacific lead of FleishmanHillard’s Financial and Professional Services sector.

Similar to the results in last year’s report, the 2023 report also shows that the performance (94%) and credibility (93%) of the asset management house continued to be the top two most important criteria for investors in Asia Pacific (APAC) in asset manager selection. The ESG commitment of asset managers (82%) continues to rank highly in criteria for asset management selection, as ESG plays a central and integral role for most investors in APAC when making investment decisions.

In addition, respectively 90%, 89% and 89% of the Asian respondents said that transparency in communications with customers, sophistication in risk management, and transparent fee disclosure are amongst the most important qualities for asset managers respectively.

“It’s clear that an asset manager’s credibility and performance continue to be major factors for investors in Asia when they decide on where to invest their capital,” Yu said. “Asset managers must continue to demonstrate their global investment expertise and capabilities, ESG commitment and enhanced transparency in customer communications to raise their profiles across Asian markets.”

The survey also found that:

  • Investors in Asia continue to show interest in emerging industries. In the next 12 months, investors are most interested in investing in the AI sector (50%), followed by the internet and technology sector (40%) and the biotechnology industry and healthcare sector (38%). ESG-related investment opportunities (34%) and cryptocurrencies (29%) are two other sectors to keep an eye on in 2023.
  • Investors in South Korea (34%) and mainland China (29%) are more risk averse and tend to shift their investments into risk-off products, while investors in Hong Kong (31%) are more willing than other APAC markets to move some capital into higher risk financial instruments.
  • Financial media outlets (53%) remain the key source of information for investors to learn about funds and investment products, but an increasing number of investors across the region use social media to receive investment related information – 43% in 2023 vs. 33% in 2022 – outperforming usage of the websites of fund houses (39%) and independent financial advisers (36%).
  • With regard to ESG commitment and compliance, investors in the region say it’s important for asset managers to “walk the talk” when proxy voting in listed companies (88%). A similar percentage (86%) place importance on transparency from asset managers in ESG data and protocols, as well as clarity in ESG goals and objectives (85%).

FleishmanHillard’s The Future of Asset Management in Asia 2023 report includes quantitative data and qualitative analysis on the asset management industry in Asia. FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence fielded an online survey of 1,000 investment professionals in mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore and South Korea between April 4 and April 11, 2023. All respondents self-identified as having traded or invested in at least one of the following: equities funds, fixed income funds, ETFs, alternatives, balanced funds, PE funds, digital assets or cryptos.A mainland China focused report, The Future of Asset Management in China 2023, is also available for asset managers interested specifically in this growing market.

Following the success of the previous Asia and China reports, FleishmanHillard is pleased to announce that it will launch European and U.S. versions in the coming months to provide more perspectives on the asset management industry.