Week of 27 January 2020
Climate change could cause the next financial crisis (Bank for International Settlements); European investors doubled investments in sustainable funds in 2019 (€120bn compared to €48.8bn in 2018, Morningstar); and asset owners take decisive actions to incentivise asset managers to invest in sustainable companies (e.g. Brunel Pension Partnership, Church of England Pension Board)
According to data provider Morningstar, a record €120bn was invested in sustainable funds, more than double the amount in 2018 (€48.8bn). Responding to client demand, an increasing number of asset managers are converting products into sustainable funds, and creating new funds. These funds integrate environmental, social and governance standards into their portfolios, pursue sustainability-related themes, or provide sustainability metrics alongside financial returns.
Brunel Pension Partnership, a £30bn British pension fund which manages pension money for councils in south-west England and the Environment Agency, has adopted a new policy stating that it would “review the mandates of asset managers that don’t reduce exposure to climate risk by 2022.” Asset managers affected include Aberdeen Standard, Invesco, Legal & General Investment Management, Royal London Asset Management and Wellington Management. The Guardian reports the following issues amongst asset managers, identified by Brunel: short-termist thinking, unwillingness to invest in companies pursuing low-carbon technologies, and risk models that rely on flawed assumptions and fail to integrate climate risks.
The Church of England Pension Board (which oversees the £2.8bn pensions for the Anglican clergy) has launched the first passive index on the London Stock Exchange that enables passive funds to invest in companies aligned to the Paris Agreement. The FTSE TPI Climate Transition Index was developed in collaboration with FTSE Russell. The Church of England will invest an initial £600m in the index.
David Cumming from Aviva Investors urges asset managers to adopt a more radical approach in the face of climate change. David provides guidance on engagement, internal structures that are needed within asset managers, and communication.