Asset owners remain key to the future success of the PRI and responsible investment. Given their long-term investment horizon, asset owners are well placed to use ESG factors to build value for their beneficiaries.
But in order for this to happen, it is vital that asset owners develop clear ESG investment goals and ensure those goals are supported throughout their organisation. While progress on ESG-focused investing is not materializing as quickly as we would like, the signals that we are seeing in the market tell us that things are moving in the right direction.
The PRI Blueprint, released last year, had as one of its core areas empowering asset owners. In order to strengthen our work with asset owners, the PRI said it will:
- Drive ESG incorporation throughout organisations, from areas such as strategy, policies and trustee capacity through to portfolio/plan-level decisions including asset allocation;
- Enable asset owners to effectively oversee and monitor investment managers, consultants and others in order to meet their responsibilities to beneficiaries;
- Demonstrate the long-term global trends that will shape the investment environment of tomorrow;
- Establish that asset owners’ duties to their beneficiaries extend beyond the risk/return profile of their investments to include making decisions that benefit the world beneficiaries live in.
To fulfil their duties to beneficiaries in the 2020s and beyond, asset owners will need robust approaches to investment that acknowledge the effects their investments have on the real economy and the societies in which their beneficiaries live.
Because the work we do with asset owners is so vital, the PRI is consulting with asset owners on their strategic priorities and how the PRI can help to empower them.
We appreciate that asset owners’ are a diverse group: more than 350 organisations, from 33 countries, with US$19 trillion of AUM have signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment. These organisations range from very small foundations to the largest pension fund in the world; from organisations that have been with the PRI from the outset to those just joining the journey now; from completely outsourced to in-house investment processes and expertise.
In truth, to empower our asset owner signatories the PRI will require a number of tailored strategies. This is why we need your help. The PRI is consulting asset owners via this short survey and a series of asset owner roundtables. The survey is a primer for our face-to-face conversations. We are asking for your perspectives on, and prioritisation of:
- The PRI Blueprint objectives, including empowering asset owners;
- Environmental, social and governance issues;
- How effective the PRI is in supporting you;
- The value of ongoing asset owner focused
Your survey responses will kick-start the roundtable discussions, which will begin later this year.
I look forward to our forthcoming discussions on how the PRI can empower asset owners and collectively drive responsible investment in the coming years.