Investment for the jilted generation – how Smart Pension is responding to the sustainability challenge

Head of Investment Proposition, James Lawrence, discusses developing big ideas to continue Smart Pension’s journey into all things ESG

For the final Smart Pension Connect Webinar of 2021 I had a chat with our Head of Investment Proposition at Smart Pension, James Lawrence, about all things investment-related and how our approach at Smart Pension helps the sustainability challenge. An industry term that explains this approach is ‘ESG investing’ which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. This means when investing, we take into consideration factors ranging from the Environmental impact with the aim to protect the planet, Social impact – looking at issues affecting fair treatment of people and Governance which considers the way companies are run.

I was also meant to be chatting to the Managing Director of Smart Pension, Paul Bucksey, but he was isolating due to Covid so we’ve left that grilling to the New Year (Ed: insert joke about the potential Christmas cracker turning into a cold turkey?).

At the time of writing, James has been at Smart Pension for just over three months, having moved across from Mercer, and is already settled in and having big thoughts and developing big ideas to continue Smart Pension’s journey into all things ESG. As well as investing in impact funds which are funds that make a real difference to the communities that we live in. Examples of these types of investments are projects or businesses that benefit the local community, such as social housing or renewable energy.

We chatted about what sustainable investing, ESG and impact means to James, and Smart Pension, and how he saw things developing. We also touched on the concerns about the potential for greenwashing and how providers can be expected to be held to account for their commitments. After all, it is easy to make pledges, but a lot more difficult to deliver!

While writing this piece I was listening to the Prodigy’s highly influential, for me anyway, album “Music for the Jilted Generation” (an advantage of working from home alone is you can play it loud as it was meant to be played!). It got me thinking about the current state of pensions, the good, the bad and the indifferent. We have a real chance through the investment approaches that we develop and implement now to make sure future generations not only get good pensions, but also have a flourishing and sustainable world in which people can live. Let’s make sure that the decisions and approaches we implement now mean future generations aren’t jilted and we all make good on our commitments.

So, that’s it for 2021. I hope you’ve enjoyed these Smart Pension Connect Webinars. We’ve had some fantastic speakers and I’m personally very grateful for people who have given up their time to have a good chat. If you’ve missed any of the chats then you can find them here

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

About Smart Pension

Launched in 2015, Smart Pension exceeds £5bn in assets under management (AUM) and now serves over one million members and more than 70,000 employers. It is powered by Keystone, Smart’s global savings and investments technology platform.

Aquiline Capital Partners, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General Investment Management, Link Group and Natixis Investment Managers are all investors in Smart Pension.