Scottish Widows has created a new specialist team dedicated to responsible investment to integrate responsible investment activity across its fund range and meet evolving customer values and beliefs.
The team is led by Maria-Nazarova-Doyle, head of pension investments, and will focus on regulatory change and the enhanced use of data to further develop Scottish Widows’ investments in line with emerging developments in financially material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.
It will also expand activity relating to stewardship of assets through engagement with managers and other asset owners.
The provider has worked in partnership with The Wisdom Council to identify what investors want and the language that resonates most effectively with them.
Scottish Widows parent Lloyds Banking Group recently unveiled an ambition to help reduce the carbon emissions it finances by more than 50 per cent by 2030.
Nazarova-Doyle says: “We are committed to being a responsible investor through the investments we make directly, the mandates we have in place with our fund managers, and through our position as an asset owner.
“That’s why we are developing our fund offering in line with what our customers want, addressing the material financial risks and opportunities linked to ESG issues and offering an appealing fund selection range in line with the transition to a low carbon economy.
“Investors are increasingly looking for funds that not only meet their values and beliefs, but also offer a good return opportunity. We know they are interested in reducing carbon footprint and we want to understand more about what’s important to them.”
Scottish Widows managing director of pensions and investments Jeff Sayers, says: “We are privileged to be one of the largest financial services providers in the UK, looking after savings and investments of millions of customers. These customers will invest with us for decades and we have a duty to be a responsible investor on their behalf to help secure their financial futures.”
Scottish Widows is a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change – a European membership body for investor collaboration on climate change which collectively represent more than £25 trillion in assets under management.
The insurer joined the group in 2018 to help prioritise the agenda and to hold the companies in which it invests to account on sustainability plans, including establishing if they have a strategy aligned to the Paris Agreement. It has also been working with the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), an event involving countries seeking an agreement that will slow the negative consequences of climate change.
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