16 July 2024 – How do asset owners address systemic risk?

All-member online Community event.

Only members with restricted access (ie. academics, asset owners, government and regulatory, independent advisers/trustees and sponsoring employers) can view this article. Please login or join to view.

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A growing set of asset owners are revising their portfolio strategies to respond to unprecedented global change. They know the consequences of the climate crisis and social inequality can’t be ignored, and they seek new strategies that respond to this reality. 

Pension schemes and other long-term investors are exposed to systemic risks that cannot easily be diversified away from. Some of the largest asset owners in the world focus on mitigating these risks to improve the risk and return of the whole market, rather than just their portfolio. They know that the impact of the risks affecting whole system could be much bigger than the risk in their portfolio.

This event heard from industry leaders who discussed practical approaches long-term investors can use to improve the system and reduce the risks to their members and fund. 

Who was this event for?

This event was open to all our members.

Speakers' biographies

Nick Spencer, Founder, Gordian Advice

Nick Spencer is the founder of Gordian Advice and a Senior Consultant at Milliman. He is a sustainability strategist and subject matter expert with over 30 years of experience in advisory, asset management and asset owner roles. As a long-standing systems thinker, he was a founding member of Actuaries for Transformational Change, a facilitator for the actuaries’ New Horizon Project and supports clients with causal modelling and complex risk analysis.

Nick is a prize-winning thought-leader on integrating climate risks into actuarial work and the author of Accounting for Sustainability’s guide ‘Managing nature risks and investing in the opportunities: top tips for pension fund chairs and trustees. He is a former Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ council member and a past Chair of its Sustainability Board. He has been an expert witness to the UK Parliament’s Environment Audit Committee.

Nick is an Ambassador for the Diversity Project and an advocate for aligning the financial services industry with a broader social purpose. He looks to drive change today by helping his clients develop the practical capabilities to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Sanjay Joshi, Impact Specialist, Hymans Robertson

Sanjay is the impact specialist at Hymans Robertson, where he supports pension schemes on how to make the world a better place.

Before working at Hymans Robertson, he ran SoGive, an organisation modelling impact and using the information to support donors and philanthropists. SoGive’s work has supported around £5mn in impact? donations .

He has also founded the Talk It Over chatbot, a mental health digital virtual assistant, which uses AI to support people who feel low, founded the Pandemic Prevention Network, and co-founded an EdTech company specialising in the investment banking sector.

He has previously served in roles in strategy consulting and finance firms, has served as a trustee for nine charities, and provided (usually pro bono) consulting to charities across the developing world on financial management and strategy development. He qualified as an actuary in 2007.

Rob Gardner, CEO and Co-Founder, Rebalance Earth

With 25 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and investor with a strong sustainability background in pensions and wealth management. Rob is committed to making money a force for good. He previously served on the Executive Board of St James's Place, managing £150bn in investments, and co-founded Redington and Mallowstreet, two B-Corps in the investment and pensions space, before going on to set up RedSTART, a financial education charity.

Sean Gilbert, Chief Investor Network Officer, The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

Sean Gilbert oversees the GIIN’s membership. Before this role, Sean was the Head of Partnerships and Outreach with the NDC Partnership at World Resources Institute (WRI), where he led governance and outreach to launch the global initiative to support countries achieve in achieving ambitious climate and development commitments.

Sean brings 20 years’ experience in the private sector and non-profits on integrating sustainability into business and finance. Prior to his role at WRI, he led Sustainability Advisory Services for KPMG in China, where he worked with Chinese and Hong Kong companies and banks. Separately, he also co-drafted the Task Force Report for the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) on Green Finance Reform. He has also been active in driving disclosure and sustainability performance standards through his work at the Global Reporting Initiative. As a Director at the Global Reporting Initiative, he led the development of a set of disclosure standards, which have become the most widely used sustainability reporting framework in the world.

Breakout Room Moderators

Keith Guthrie, Head of Sustainability, Cardano UK and NOW:Pensions

Keith is the Head of Sustainability for Cardano UK and for NOW: Pensions, a member of the Sustainability Policy Committee and a partner in the firm. He focuses on the development and integration of sustainability into Cardano’s investment offerings for UK clients and for NOW: Pensions, working closely with their in-house teams, clients and trustees. Before moving to the Sustainability Group in 2023, Keith co-led Cardano’s investment teams for 15 years. Prior to joining Cardano in 2008, Keith worked at GAM and RMB International managing a variety of multi-asset portfolios.

Keith graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, with a BSc (Hons) in Statistics & Actuarial Science and is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Bill Manahan, Director of Institutional Solutions, Downing

Bill joined Downing in July 2023 as a Director of Institutional Solutions. He has a wealth of experience in the institutional space - private markets, risk management - across fundraising and business development. He holds a degree in Commerce from University College Dublin and has a post graduate diploma in Law from the Department for international Trade (DIT).

Claire Jones, Partner, LCP

Claire serves as an actuary with over 20 years’ experience spanning investment, pensions and sustainability.

Claire is Head of Responsible Investment at LCP, and leads their work on systemic stewardship, engaging with regulators and policymakers to address systemic risks such as climate change, that could materially harm financial outcomes for clients. She advises large asset owner clients, helping them to invest sustainably, implement their net zero commitments and undertake effective stewardship.

Claire represents LCP on the Steering Committee of the Investment Consultants Sustainability Working Group, and leads its Influence workstream which engages proactively with regulators and policymakers on ways to support sustainable investment and reduce the regulatory burden on pension schemes. She received the 2022 Alan Watson Award from the outgoing President of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries for helping to lay the foundations of the IFoA’s sustainability work during her time on its Resource and Environment Board (2014-2019). Claire was a member of the Pensions Climate Risk Industry Group which published climate change guidance for pension trustees in 2021.

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.

Host

Richard Giles, Senior Director & Community Lead, Pensions for Purpose

Richard is a Senior Director at Pensions for Purpose and responsible for working with our Community Partners, setting our strategic themes and hosting events for all the members of our network.

Richard has over 30 years’ experience of working in the pension industry as an adviser, senior executive, board member and trustee. He has a portfolio of board roles in finance, education and culminating in looking after the planet.

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.

For more information, please email the Membership Manager.