PLSA IC 19: Trustees should 'push managers to improve' on sustainable investment

Trustees should be doing more to encourage their scheme's asset managers to invest more sustainably, according to BNP Paribas Asset Management global head of sustainability, Jane Ambachtsheer.

When asked at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association 2019 Investment Conference what she would encourage trustees to do to improve their scheme's sustainable investment strategies, Ambachtsheer said: “I would do an assessment of where your managers currently are, to the extent that you're using external managers.

“It's not a matter of walking away from the ones that aren't there yet, but I think that you should be setting tough challenges for them and push them to improve.”

Ambachtsheer is also a member of the FSB Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which is a group that looks to “develop voluntary, consistent, climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies”.

As part of the taskforce's objective, they have been drafting and publishing documents and consultations on climate-related financial disclosures, risks and opportunities.

Ambachtsheer suggested that trustees could be doing more to get senior figures and organisations to take a serious look at their investments into more environmentally friendly sources by using its papers.

She added: “I would push your industry associations and your managers to be more active in the types of consultations that we talked about, where we really set the stage from a regulatory environment in terms of actually enabling us to achieve the Paris agreement, because as long term investors its a fundamental objective and we're not doing enough to actually get there.”

The third task that Ambachtsheer set trustees was to decide if they were a “future taker or a future maker”, whether you are passive about the future and worry about what is ahead or believe that it provides greater financial opportunities, “because I think that really dictates the kind of memberships you should have and the types of manager that you should hire.”

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