Sustainable and impact investing represent a huge opportunity for both the UK’s investment management industry and British society. Driven by a triple helix of change – environmental, regulatory and social – demand from investors for products which demonstrate tangible positive impact is rising rapidly. How is regulatory pressure affecting this growing market, and how can the investment industry capitalise on the opportunities it presents?

​On September 5 2018, Acre’s Banking & Finance team held a round table event to discuss how the UK’s investment management industry could become the global market leader in sustainable and impact investing. Our intention was to create an open forum – one where attendees could share their perspectives and extensive industry experience – and encourage a robust debate. This was in response to several influential policy groups stating that investment advisors and pension fund trustees will soon be required to engage with their clients and beneficiaries respectively to understand and acknowledge their sustainability preferences.

We believe that there are significant benefits to taking a collaborative approach to developing the UK investment community’s capabilities in this rapidly growing sector. Sustainable and impact investing represents opportunities on many fronts for both UK plc and British society. To capitalise on these opportunities, there is much to be done to develop the commercial and regulatory landscape of the investment industry. These discussions aimed towards mapping out that work and determining the key areas of opportunity for both organisations and the wider industry.

The discussion was chaired by Oonagh Harpur, Independent Non-Executive at KPMG. For each of the following topics, two expert speakers provided their perspectives to kick off a lively discussion.

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    Regulatory pressure  

    A review of the relevant recommendations from the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) and the UK Green Finance Task (UKGFT)

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    Growing demand for Impact products

    How to engage with individuals regarding their sustainability preferences when discussing either personal savings or choice of corporate pension provider, and the type of reactions they are likely to

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    Impact finds on offer today 

    An overview of the range of funds available for individuals
    or corporate pension funds who want to acknowledge the impact of their investments when allocating their savings/pensions.

This is a valuable contribution to thinking on these important topics, and I congratulate Acre for having convened what was clearly both an interesting event and for having drawn expert individual perspectives together into an insightful paper.

Elizabeth Corley, Former CEO, Allianz Global Investors and Chair.

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    "What will these recommendations mean post-Brexit? How likely are we to see regulation in the UK similar to what we are seeing from the EU?

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    "Which of the many frameworks should we equip investment advisors with when discussing impact or sustainable investment products with clients?"

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    "Is the ambition of the EU's HLEG group to focus on climate/green finance, or more broadly on ESG issues across all sectors?"

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    "What measures can be taken to ensure these impact funds are doing what they say they are?"

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