The Summer issue of Avon Pension News is now available to download from the website. Copies are posted to members who pay into the Fund during August accompanying the Annual Pension Statement.
Latest news & announcements
The economic and societal impact of Covid-19 is now becoming more apparent and poses many additional challenges for companies, consumers, governments and investors alike. In our last newsletter we communicated our plans to directly address the risks posed by climate change. As we start to adjust to the ‘new normal’ it is important we redouble our efforts to transform our portfolio for a lower carbon world.
Amidst the unprecedented market volatility in March, companies responding positively to the challenges of climate change, environmental sustainability and social well-being were able to demonstrate their value. Over the first three months of the year, the Fund’s low carbon global equities outperformed the mainstream equity market and our sustainable equity portfolio experienced roughly half of the severe declines suffered by its benchmark.
We continue to make progress in the following areas, which remain critical if we are to achieve our ambitious climate change goals:
When the Government reformed public service pension schemes in 2014 and 2015 they introduced protections for older members. In December 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that younger members of the Judges' and Firefighters' Pension schemes had been discriminated against because the protections did not also apply to them.
The Government has confirmed that there will be changes to all main public sector schemes, including the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), to remove this age discrimination. This ruling is often referred to as the 'McCloud judgment' after a member of the Judges' Pension Scheme involved in the case.
The changes will apply to members who were in the scheme on 31 March 2012 and also have membership after 31 March 2014 (without a break of more than five years in any public service pension scheme).
Brunel Pension Partnership has been named the Pension fund of the year by Environmental Finance. It also picked up another award for ESG Initiative of the Year.
Environmental Finance (EF) is an online news and analysis service set up over 20 years ago to report on sustainable investment, green finance and the people and companies active in environmental markets. Its Sustainable Investment Awards seek to recognise those asset managers, analysts and data providers that incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in their investments.
In awarding Brunel Pension Partnership with the prestigious Pension fund of the year EF praised Brunel for its clear and broad climate policy, active engagement, and ongoing push for disclosure improvements.
The second award ESG Initiative of the Year recognises the work Brunel carried out in conjunction with consultancy Chronos Sustainability. Where they developed a climate change framework designed to achieve investment returns whilst being in alignment with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
We are currently consulting on our draft Investment Strategy Statement (ISS) with stakeholders. It is a technical document that is drafted to comply with LGPS regulations and guidance.
The ISS sets out how the Fund will achieve its primary strategic objective of paying the pensions due over time. This entails balancing the risk within the portfolio between generating returns and protecting capital, recognising our responsibility as a shareholder/investor and how the Fund can contribute to resolving materially financial global issues and at the same time ensuring it maintains affordability for employers. We acknowledge it is difficult to achieve all the differing aspirations and objectives of our stakeholders; our strategy includes those that are aligned with the primary objective and where they do not increase the financial risk to the Fund and our ability to pay pensions.
This Statement incorporates changes resulting from the Fund’s most recent investment strategy review including changes to the asset allocation and the setting of climate change objectives. The setting of explicit climate objectives reflects the Fund’s belief that climate change presents a material financial risk to our assets and managing this risk is consistent with our over-arching fiduciary duty to the scheme members.
Feedback on the ISS from scheme members will be considered alongside comments from other key stakeholders such as the Pension Board, employers and trade unions ahead of the document being finalised in September.
Please submit comments by 12 August 2020 to AvonPF_Investments@bathnes.gov.uk
Avon Pension Fund joins 100+ investors, representing over €11 trillion in assets, to call on EU leaders to ensure a sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 which supports the EU Green Deal & upholds the Paris Agreement.
Brunel Pension Partnership, today issued their 2020 Responsible Investment and Stewardship Outcomes Report, acknowledging the significant contribution made by Avon alongside all of the Brunel client funds. The report gives an account of how Brunel have delivered against our joint strategic responsible investment priorities through the year.
Scammers are targeting pension pots of all sizes – make sure you know how to spot the signs
Pension scammers are targeting people like you with the average victim losing £91,000 each.
Scams are hard to spot and are often disguised with credible websites, testimonials and materials which make them look like the real thing.
To help you spot the signs and protect yourself from a scam, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Pensions Regulator suggest following four simple steps.
In January we published details of a landmark shareholder resolution co-filed by Brunel Pension Partnership calling on Barclays to set and disclose targets to phase out its financing of fossil fuel companies where they are not aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The outcome of the meeting has been hailed a success with Barclays’ own resolution winning majority support and committing them to becoming net carbon zero by 2050. The shareholder resolution won significant minority support in its own right, prompting the bank to consult with shareholders and explain the views received and actions taken publicly within six months.
The result is a great example of the power of Pooling and highlights now more than ever the value of shareholder engagement as the Fund seeks to deliver on its ambitious climate change objectives.
Further information relating to both resolutions can be found here: https://www.brunelpensionpartnership.org/2020/04/29/from-ambition-to-action-lpgs-investors-ask-barclays-to-firm-up-commitments-on-climate/
Brunel Pension Partnership’s official statement following the outcome of the Barclays AGM can be found here: https://www.brunelpensionpartnership.org/2020/05/07/barclays-climate-resolution-outcome/