Aligning the dialogue between impact managers and pension funds

Karen Shackleton, Head of Pensions for Purpose, discusses the different perspectives of impact managers and pension funds and the importance of aligning the dialogue.

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As an independent investment adviser to local authority pension funds, and a non-executive director of a social impact manager, I was recently invited to join a working party on social investments. The debate focussed on changes that might encourage more capital to be allocated to these investments and involved conversations with pension fund trustees. 

More recently, I have celebrated the launch of a nine-month project, Pensions for Purpose. Aimed specifically at pension funds, the aim of this collaborative, web-based initiative is to promote pension funds’ understanding of impact investment by collectively sharing news stories, blogs, case studies, academic research and thought leadership papers on impact topics. It is one of the first times that the fund management community (usually a highly competitive industry) has worked collaboratively for the greater good by sharing their research in this way. 

Both these initiatives have involved me in detailed dialogue with pension fund investors and social investment providers. It has been a fascinating and informative journey, but two things stood out as my conversations progressed:

  • Those involved in social investment are passionate about the impact their work is having.
  • Those involved in pension funds are passionate about providing the best risk-adjusted return for their members…
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