PLSA IC 24: Pension schemes urged to engage with asset managers leaving climate initiatives

Pension schemes that are not happy with their asset managers for leaving climate initiatives, such as the Climate Action 100+, should “let them know”, Brunel Pension Partnership chief responsible investment officer, Faith Ward, has said.

Addressing the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Investment Conference 2024, Ward expressed her disappointment that some large asset managers had decided to leave climate initiatives they were previously signatories of.

“I felt it was quite noteworthy who has stepped forward and who has stepped back in doing that,” Ward continued.

“It’s about that consistent voice to business. I do not believe it is in any way contrary to fiduciary duty. The Competitions Markets Authority in the UK was very clear that such collaborative [works] are within the legal framework, there’s no conflict there.”

While Ward recognised that there were some challenges with the politicisation of the topic of sustainability, she noted that, at the end of the day, this was a systemic risk that needs to be addressed.

“These asset managers are managing our money. It is our money and if you are not happy about the decision, please let them know,” she added.

Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) chair, David Russell, agreed, saying it was “disappointing” that some large asset managers had not found a way to work with other asset managers to address systemic risks such as climate change.

“There has been a significant growth in data sets, both in terms of climate and biodiversity,” he noted. “But the fact that the asset managers couldn’t agree to stay with other asset managers was disappointing.”

Ward said that there was some “fantastic analysis and work” that is going on with asset managers, and urged asset owners to ask them how they are addressing climate and biodiversity risk.

“Crowdsource about what your assets managers are doing and bring that to your board,” Ward stated.

“Leverage the expertise that is going on within your asset managers. Collaborate. It’s a no brainer.”

Russell concluded: “Work with your existing or new asset managers. They should be doing something. They should be able to provide you with the information and training that’s needed.”



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