Pension schemes are grappling with the extra responsibilities related to climate change, biodiversity loss and social risks as well as new opportunities. Many funds do not have the resources and expertise to be as effective as they would like.
We were delighted James Alexander, Chief Executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, joined us for a fireside chat on how pension funds can ensure they have enough strategic thinking time, and the resources and skills to integrate impact.
In a bid to measure everything from Scope 1 - 3 emissions, to biodiversity indicators and beyond, a significant resource and financial burden is being created for pension funds, their advisers and other asset owners.
Following the discussion with James, we moved to breakout rooms of mixed stakeholders, led by a number of our Community partners, AXA Investment Managers, Jupiter Asset Management and Tikehau Capital. We then returned to the main room to share insights.
Who was this event for?
This event was open to all our members. If your organisation is not yet a member of Pensions for Purpose you are able to attend an event before deciding whether to join, so please register for future events.
James Alexander, Chief Executive, UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association
James is Chief Executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), driving the organisation’s objective of advancing sustainable investment and finance in the UK. He also serves as Chair of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), working to unlock the power of the worldwide financial services industry to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future.
James joined UKSIF in 2020 with a background in international climate finance and infrastructure finance as well as many years’ experiences in leadership roles in membership organisations. Since then, UKSIF has grown substantially, now representing over 300 organisations, collectively managing over £19tn. He has also overseen the expansion of UKSIF’s communications, public affairs and events programmes, increasing the organisation’s capacity to influence decision makers, promote sustainable finance in the media and facilitate industry collaboration.
James has represented UKSIF at Treasury and DWP select committees, and is a member of multiple government and regulatory working groups. In August 2023, he was appointed Chair of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance and he also serves as Treasurer of Eurosif, the European Sustainable Investment Forum. In November 2023, James was awarded ‘Outstanding Individual Contribution to the ESG Investment Industry’ at the Clear Path Analysis ESG Investment Leader Awards.
Previously, James supported global megacities to overcome the substantial barriers to financing climate action as Director of the City Finance Programme at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and Head of the C40 Cities Finance Facility – a project preparation facility he developed, now supporting cities across the world to structure nearly a billion dollars of sustainable infrastructure transactions. James has worked on international climate finance issues at the UN level and remains a member of the UN SDSN Global Commission for Urban SDG Finance, chaired jointly by Jeffrey Sachs and the Mayors of Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
Breakout room hosts
Rachel Bussell, Head of UK Institutional Sales, AXA Investment Managers
Rachel is responsible for leading AXA Investment Managers' work with UK institutional investors including pension schemes, corporates and professional trustee relationships in supporting them to meet their objectives. Rachel also leads their Global Pension Group to ensure they are leveraging their global experiences to enhance their support to pension funds in each local region.
Rachel joined AXA IM from Mercer where she worked as a Sales Director and a Senior Investment Consultant. Rachel’s previous roles include Director of EMEA Client Services for the Cash Business at State Street Global Advisors and Director of Global Accounts at BlueBay Asset Management.
Rachel holds an MSc in Actuarial Science from Bayes Business School (formerly Cass University) and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Sheffield.
Simon Males, Executive Director and Head of UK Institutional Business, Tikehau Capital
Simon Males is Executive Director and Head of UK Institutional Business at Tikehau Capital, the €38.8bn global alternative asset management group. Simon has over three decades’ experience working within the UK institutional market, including leadership roles at global asset management firms such as Legal & General Investment Management, PGIM, Pictet Asset Management and F&C (BMO).
More recently, he founded Carrick Roads Capital Limited, an institutional consulting and capital-raising firm. Simon is a member of the Board of AIMSE Europe and has previously been a member of its Advisory Council since 2013. He is also a serving Trustee and Board Director of two UK Charities (North London Hospice and The Pemberton-Barnes Trust) and has previously served as a Trustee of a £130m UK defined benefit corporate pension plan. Simon holds an MBA from London Metropolitan University and several professional qualifications, including the IMC.
Rachel Perini, Head of UK Institutional, Jupiter Asset Management
Rachel is Head of UK Institutional at Jupiter Asset Management. She is responsible for the management of the UK institutional client business and all aspects of relationships with institutional clients in the UK.
Rachel joined Jupiter Asset Management in October 2021. Prior to this, she was a Client Relationship Manager, Executive Director, within UBS Asset Management’s institutional business. She had responsibility for business development and all aspects of the relationship with several strategic UK institutional clients and consultants. Prior to UBS, Rachel was a member of the Strategic Client Group at BlackRock.
In 2020, she was a finalist for Fund Salesperson of the Year at the Women in Investment Awards hosted by Investment Week. Rachel is a CFA charterholder and member of the CFA Society of the UK.
Rachel has a degree in Finance and Information Technology from the University of Virginia.
Charlotte O'Leary, CEO, Pensions for Purpose
As CEO and an executive director of Pensions for Purpose, Charlotte oversees the running of the business, develops the growth and innovation strategy and looks for opportunities to build partnerships to achieve Pensions for Purpose's mission.
She is also a member of the Impact Investing Institute's Pensions Expert Panel, an ambassador for the Transparency Taskforce and a founder of 10 Billion World, an end-to-end sustainability project management business aimed at businesses and organisations setting net-zero and carbon reduction targets.
Through her roles, Charlotte has built a knowledge and passion for sustainable investing. She has demonstrated this in co-authoring a paper with the Society for Pension Professionals on social impact investing and speaking on topics such as fee and service transparency at PLSA and Transparency Taskforce events. Charlotte played a critical role in developing the Impact Investing Institute's Impact Investing Principles for Pensions.
Richard Giles, Senior Director and Community Lead, Pensions for Purpose
Richard has over 30 years working in the pension industry as an adviser, senior executive and trustee. He is in the final phase of his career building a portfolio of paid and voluntary Board Roles. covering finance, sport, education and looking after the planet.
Richard will participate in this session as the Chairman of the Investment Sub-Committee of the United Utilities Pension Scheme. This is a £3.5bn fund with a defined benefit and defined contribution section. The scheme has recently completed its first TCFD report and is considering the practical steps needed to integrate plans to transition to net zero and clean energy.
The scheme has also recently completed a £1.5bn buy-in transaction with Legal & General.
Pensions for Purpose
Pensions for Purpose exists as a bridge between asset managers, pension funds and their professional advisers, to encourage the flow of capital towards impact investment. Our aim is to empower pension funds to seek positive impact opportunities and mitigate negative impact risks.
Our Community allows members to learn from leaders in the impact investment industry. We provide a trusted environment to interact, collaborate and share knowledge. Members engage in a programme of activity to shape their strategy in ESG, sustainable and impact investments.
Pensions for Purpose exists as a bridge between asset managers, pension funds and their professional advisers, to encourage the flow of capital towards impact investment. Our aim is to empower pension funds to seek positive impact opportunities and mitigate negative impact risks. For membership information, please email our Membership Manager.
To watch the recording of the fireside chat from the event please click on the button below.