Scottish Widows has created a specialist responsible investment team to monitor sustainable activity across its range of funds. Unlike Australian and New Zealand funds, which tend to integrate ESG functions into their overall investment processes, UK funds more often outsource the delivery of their specialist ethical options.
The Lloyds-owned Stg150 billion (A$252 billion) fund manager said the new team would look to “meet customers’ evolving values and beliefs” on ESG investing. Head of pension investments, Maria Nazarova-Doyle, will lead the team, it was announced late last month.
Scottish Widows, an iconic brand in the UK which is more a distributor than a fund manager, outsources its ‘ethical fund’ management, for instance, to Schroders. Aberdeen Asset Management and BlackRock also manage big chunks of Scottish Widows money.
Notwithstanding how they deliver their beliefs, big UK investors, such as Scottish Widows, are also on the path of significantly increasing their ESG-orientated exposures. A recent study by researcher and platform provider Charles Stanley, showed nearly half of institutional and wholesale investors in the UK were looking to increase their socially responsible investing in the next 12 months.
Charles Stanley’s online investment platform, Charles Stanley Direct, also found nearly one in five investors plan to increase their ESG investments ‘significantly’ over that period, it was reported last month.