The very first ESG Pathway webinar kicked off on 24 September with IFAs hearing from experts, asset managers, platforms and fellow advisers.
The ESG Pathway webinar series is a joint initiative from Square Mile Investment Consulting & Research and ESG Clarity with the aim of educating and expanding the dialogue between advisers and members of the responsible investment community.
The first session proved to be extremely insightful for all participants with live polls, interactive panels and expert commentary.
What is clear from the first event is that ESG and responsible investing is only set to explode further, firmly moving into mainstream investing.
We heard from advisers on the first panel with Jake Moeller, consultant at Square Mile, on how they have begun integrating and assessing ESG, but also looking inwardly at what they are doing as a business, and how they determined their approach to ESG before beginning to scan the product universe for clients.
Declan McAndrew, head of investment research from Foster Denovo, George Critchley, senior partner at Pennine Wealth, and Annette Hender, partner at Taylor Made Financial Planning all pointed to many useful resources for IFAs looking for an ESG starting point, such as the PRI website and Investment Association framework and answered questions on ESG in model portfolios. It was also encouraging to see the poll results showed 82% of you are integrating responsible investments into central investment propositions (CIPs).
The adviser panel also shared what they want to see from asset managers in terms of integration, such as independent oversights and ESG running through the core of the business – not just in marketing campaigns – and also that there is room for continual improvements.
In the Ask the Experts videos, Malcolm McPartlin, Aegon Asset Management answered the question is ESG a fad, with the answer being, of course, most definitely not and ESG is a firm part of our industry’s future – the key will be avoiding the losers and backing the winners.
AXA Investment Managers Chris Iggo also explained the risks of investing in fossil fuels, including regulatory intervention and changing consumer demand, while Andrew Parry of Newton Investment Management explained about the separate importance of E, S or G.
Steve Nelson at the lang cat was our first platform speaker, providing listeners with three key pointers on what ESG investing means in practise, how platforms can help and that it means different things to different people in different points of the chain – a very important point to consider.
In the Asset Manager Panel chaired by Richard, Federated Hermes Saker Nusseibeh highlighted the importance of stewardship and engagement to generate the best long-term returns, and LGIM’s Sarah explored how Covid-19 has shone a light on so many unsustainable industries, and why it is every investment professional’s responsibility to help make sure this improves.
Listeners also heard how the groups represented on the panel have approached ESG, and how ESG metrics can be applied to different asset classes, as well as how groups are using different frameworks such as TCFD.
Jupiter’s Charlie Thomas echoed the sentiment that ESG investing is evolving and changing all the time, so groups need to be prepared to adapt more over the coming years too.
The next ESG Pathway webinar will be held on 14 October 10am – 12pm BST and will be exploring how the pandemic has accelerated demand for responsible investing, as well as providing advisers with another opportunity pose questions to the experts.
You can view the full agenda and register here.