Everything Must Change
In case you missed it, the climate change investing movement is (finally) coming to a theatre near you in the U.S. In the audience, you will find an engaged group of global asset owners, asset managers, consultants and other important investors who are joining the movement. No, I am not announcing a new publication on climate change investing, but I’m pleased to let you know that, while Pensions & Investments has been following this important trend for years, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure P&I’s coverage helps you understand what you need to know and what’s important to your business.
Go to P&I's ESG Special Report
A VISIT FROM JAPAN
A few weeks ago, I hosted a group of Japanese government officials from the Pension Bureau of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare who were visiting some of the largest investors in the U.S., including many public pensions plans that have sustainable investment programs.
They were interested to learn that, according to P&I, sustainable, responsible and impact investing assets reached $12 trillion in 2018, with public pension plans accounting for 54% of those assets. We have also reported that among private, or corporate, retirement plans, target-date funds are expected to lead the growth of ESG investments, driven by the interest of younger investors who seek to have their values linked to their investments. Since TDFs now account for 20% of all defined contribution assets, this should be a potent and powerful vehicle for growth. My advice: Watch this space!I
As an avid reader of P&I, you have likely noticed a growing body of ESG and sustainable investment information as institutional investors in Asia, Europe and Canada have activated massive shifts in their governance and portfolio allocations as a result of climate change investing and sustainability strategy. As the famous jazz standard says, “everything must change, nothing stays the same,” the ecosystem that supports our investment world, from target-date funds in DC plans in the U.S. to the goliath GPIF in Japan, we remain committed to letting you know what is changing, and what it means to asset owners and ultimately, the beneficiaries of those assets.
GLOBAL FUND SEARCH | SUSTAINABLE EQUITY LEADERS PROGRAMYou might have also noticed that P&I’s Global Fund Search recently announced a Sustainable Equity Leaders program. Our partnership with the Denmark-based Global Fund Search platform has allowed asset owners around the world to conduct manager research. Sustainable equity and fixed income mandates are on the rise and we highlight many of these managers in the marketing campaign that is currently published in the Sept. 30 issue of Pensions & Investments. Also, we are surveying asset owners to uncover trends in asset manager research and selection. Please participate in the survey. I will be hosting a webcast in early November to reveal the results and lead a discussion on the trends the survey finds.
If you are an asset owner, you can anonymously post your RFPs and RFIs on Global Fund Search, our open architecture platform, at no cost. If you’re an asset manager, you can create a free profile in our database and view activity on the platform. As an open-architecture platform, GFS also welcomes consultants. Users of P&I Global Fund Search have allocated billions in assets this year, so please take a look. You can learn more about our platform here.
2020 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
The P&I conference team has announced the 2020 schedule. New to the lineup is a Private Markets Breakfast Briefing, scheduled for June 16 in Chicago and June 18 in New York. We have a packed schedule of conferences and breakfast briefings on topics from fixed income to DC investment lineups, ESG and everything in between. We hope to see you at one of our events in 2020.
WHAT I'M READING NOW
I had coffee a few weeks ago in New York with my Dutch friend Kees Koedijk, dean and director of TIAS Business School and a professor of finance at Tilburg University, as he was passing through the States. He gave me a copy of his new book Achieving Investment Excellence: A Practical Guide for Trustees of Pension Funds, Endowments and Foundations, which he wrote with his academic colleague Alfred Slager and innovative Dutch investor Jaap van Dam, who is the principal investment director for PGGM, one of the largest pension investors in The Netherlands. As you might imagine, Achieving Investment Excellence has a sharp focus on sustainability along with best practices for governance and training for trustees and asset managers. It’s well worth your time. You might even consider purchasing copies for your board members and others who are involved with investment decisions.
In the song I mentioned earlier, Everything Must Change, Nina Simone sings, “Nothing and no one goes unchanged.” At P&I, we are committed to helping you understand what has changed and what that means for your investment portfolio and your job. Thank you for your loyalty as a reader and partner, and as always, please let me know what we can do better to serve your needs.
Thanks for your time, and please send me a note if you would like to learn more about how Pensions & Investments can assist you with growing your business.
Chris J. Battaglia