Do you remember the dull grey days of last December? Thankfully the weather gods put on a much better performance this year with foggy mornings, frost under foot and even snow! This month marked a first. After 15 years of focusing on the institutional investor market, I wrote an article for Professional Adviser which asked if it was time for wealth managers to be honest about the complexities of sustainable investment. The second piece took a closer look at the FCA’s proposed sustainability disclosure requirements. And the third asked how smaller firms can attract younger women into the industry. My latest feature for the PLSA’s Viewpoint magazine was also published which looks at what next for the LDI market now gilt markets have calmed. As 2022 draws to a close, I feel proud of the success of my networking events and excited about having more interesting discussions next year. Thanks to everyone who has come to event, made a comment on LinkedIn and encouraged me when we met in person. When you work on your own, such support is invaluable. Looking forward to 2023!

Its time to be honest about the complexities of sustainable investment

My first article for Professional Adviser focuses on the complexities of sustainable investing. I explain we won’t create a sustainable economy by excluding specific industries and only investing in ‘good’ companies. Individual investors should recognise they have to allocate capital to companies without great track records and ask asset managers to become effective corporate stewards. We need to move away from values and focus instead on value.

SDR and data – just a snapshot of today’s carbon intensity?

My second piece for Professional Adviser takes a closer look at the implications of the FCA’s proposed sustainability disclosure requirements. Some think this is the step change needed to make advisers take sustainable investment seriously. But others warn of turning this style of investment to a simple comparison of company data. It’s also difficult to see how funds which currently describe themselves as impact investors can meet the new criteria. And some are concerned the categories might be too broad.

What your small firm can do to recruit and retain talented women

The criticism levelled at financial services firms when they discuss increasing diversity and inclusion is that lip service is too often paid to the concept rather than thinking deeply about what needs to change. But PIMFA’s afternoon 2022 Talent, Diversity and Inclusion Conference challenged that impression. I was struck by how wide-ranging the discussion was and the way thorny topics were tackled in-depth. Particularly noteworthy was a compelling and data-heavy presentation on the best way to attract younger women into the industry, which provided the inspiration for this piece.

LDI – what comes next for pension schemes?

My latest feature for the PLSA’s Viewpoint magazine − pages 18 to 20 −  takes a look at what’s next for LDI now the gilt markets have calmed. Changes to the way LDI funds are managed have happened and more are likely, with a particular focus on sources of collateral. The impact of the crisis on schemes has been mixed, with those with strong funding positions and low hedging emerging well but those with a significant funding gap face a difficult dilemma on whether to prioritise return-seeking assets or LDI. With many schemes finding higher interest rates have accelerated their path to buyout, supply is not matching demand. Schemes will now have to find the best investment strategy while they wait for buyout. And the combination of the crisis and improved bond yields means illiquid assets have lost their shine with future allocations to these funds looking less likely.

Networking events for 2023

The first networking event of the year will be held on Tuesday, 31st January with more events planned for March, May, September and November. If you like to come along to any of these events, please do get in touch!


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