FIS Digital – June 2020

Leadership for a sustainable recovery

The COVID-19 global health and economic crisis has highlighted the need for leadership and capital to be urgently targeted towards the vulnerabilities in the global economy. So what does a sustainable recovery look like and how can institutional investors collaborate to make sure it happens?


Gilbert Van Hassel has been chief executive and chair of the executive committee of Robeco since September 2016. Van Hassel has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, mainly in asset and wealth management, with broad experience in Europe, Asia and the US. Until 2013 he was Global CEO ING Investment Management and member of the board insurance and asset management of ING. Before joining ING in 2007, he worked for JP Morgan where he held various executive positions in Europe, Asia and the US. Van Hassel has a Bachelor;s degree in Applied Economics from the University of Antwerp St Ignatius (Belgium), an MBA, with a major in International Finance from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and a Master of Science in Finance from Purdue University (US).


Colin Tate has been an investment industry media publisher and conference producer since 1996. In his media career, Tate has launched and overseen dozens of print and electronic publications. He is the chief executive and major shareholder of Conexus Financial, which was formed in 2005, and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The company stages more than 20 conferences and events each year – in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Beijing, Sydney and Melbourne – and publishes five media brands, including the global website and strategy newsletter for global institutional investors One of the company’s signature events is the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium. Conexus Financial’s events aim to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts, as well as promote the long-term stability of markets and sustainable retirement incomes. Tate served for seven years on the board of Australia’s most high profile homeless charity, The Wayside Chapel; and he has underwritten the welfare of 60,000 people in 28 villages throughout Uganda via The Hunger Project.

Key takeaways

  • Social spirit needs to be nurtured for those that are working at home alone.
  • A sustainable recovery has the same three requirements as a sustainable economy:
    • We need a healthy planet – 1 million animal species are threatened with extinction
    • Wealth and wellbeing need to be fairly shared
    • Good governance across government and corporates
  • One silver lining is how willing people are to think differently and endure sacrifice during the pandemic.
  • Will the world finally wake up to the climate crisis? Hopefully, but we should not be complacent. After all, ‘This time it’s going to be different’ is a dangerous line because human behaviour is very slow to change.
  • Government will have to play a role to ensure the definition of fiduciary duty includes greater appreciation of sustainability considerations.
  • If we collaborate and persist in actively voting and engaging we can achieve great change that will impact the world far for generations to come.

Poll results

Do you align your investment objectives with the SDGs?

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