Britain toughens up climate-related disclosures by companies and funds

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The City of London financial district is seen with office skyscrapers commonly known as 'Cheesegrater', 'Gherkin' and 'Walkie Talkie' seen in London, Britain, January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Britain will from January significantly increase the number of companies and investment houses required to tell investors how climate-change is hitting their businesses, its financial watchdog said on Friday.

The UK government wants to make it easier for investors to pick environmentally friendly companies to help Britain achieve a net-zero economy by 2050.

Since December 2020, companies listed on the London Stock Exchange's premium segment must make climate-related disclosures in line with standards set by the global Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures or TCFD.

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Friday confirmed plans it published in June that companies with a standard listing should also tell investors in annual reports whether disclosures are in line with the TCFD, or explain why they are not.

There will also be a similar requirement for asset managers, life insurers and pension providers, the FCA said. The wider scope will cover 98% of assets under management in Britain, worth around 12.1 trillion pounds ($16.08 trillion).

"We are the first securities regulator to introduce mandatory TCFD-aligned disclosure requirements for asset managers and asset owners," the FCA said in a statement.

The rules will initially apply to the largest asset managers and come into effect for smaller firms a year later.

Global application of the voluntary TCFD has been mixed, prompting world leaders to back a new International Sustainability Standards Board to write climate-related disclosures from the second half of 2022. read more

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Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Iain Withers and Susan Fenton

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