At the end of March the streets of West London emptied. The first school holidays without covid restrictions sparked a mass exodus. Posting on LinkedIn was like shouting into the void. I decided if you can’t beat them, join them! So I headed to Greece to enjoy spring flowers – pictured above – sunshine and Epidaurus (breathtaking – you should go). I arrived home refreshed and rejuvenated. Despite the prevailing holiday mood, Professional Pensions published my article looking at how the war in Ukraine has impacted the sustainable investment agenda. My most recent blog post examined how closed DB schemes have a unique opportunity to influence the government’s sustainability agenda. And the latest video asks why is it so hard to define sustainable investing?
A renewed focus
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed energy security to the top of the agenda, with European governments scrambling for alternative sources of hydrocarbons. In my piece, I explain there are concerns this could derail progress towards net zero. But the rational response would be to accelerate the switch to green energy assets as they will provide greater security. The war has also put the role of defence stocks in portfolios under the spotlight. There has been criticism of some funds’ decision to exclude this sector but it is rare for pension schemes to do this. Those schemes with equity investments still have exposure to the sector through their passive portfolios. Even those with an ESG-tilt will not exclude the whole sector only the most controversial weapons manufacturers.
Impact investing and you – part two
The reliance on fixed income assets – particularly government debt – makes integrating impact investing more complex for closed defined benefit schemes than for auto-enrolled pensions. My latest post explores how pension schemes are, however, in a unique position to be able to influence the UK government on behalf of scheme members. It’s often hard for sovereign debt holders to make their voice heard about sustainable investment policies and they can feel queasy about impinging on democratic rights. But as closed DB schemes are forced owners of UK government debt which they hold on behalf of UK voters, there is a unique opportunity to develop a meaningful dialogue.
Why is it so hard to define sustainable investing?
This video asks why asset owners and managers struggle when they try to define what they mean by sustainable investment. Part of the problem is it is not just one investment style but a whole spectrum. It’s not that long ago that some people used their capital to make returns while others viewed that cash to be used to improve society. Sustainable investing is the bridge which links traditional investing and philanthropy. And your position on the bridge defines your investment style.
Latest networking event
My latest networking event will be taking place on Tuesday, 10th May. It’ll be a fun evening with good speakers and the discussion is bound to be lively. If you’d would like to come, please message me.