The main responsibility of the Essex Pension Fund is to ensure it has sufficient funds available to pay pensions in relation to over 160,000 present and future pensioners.
The Fund’s asset strategy, as determined by the Investment Steering Committee (ISC), is therefore based on an objective of maximising investment return within appropriate risk constraints.
The ISC has appointed specialist external managers to a range of investment mandates. The financial impact of issues, including climate change, forms one part of the process that determines the investments made on the Fund’s behalf. The ISC recognises both the long-term risks associated with climate change and, as Carbon Tracker has indicated, fossil fuel companies offer the potential to deliver value if they plan effectively for this transition which requires shareholders to engage with companies. The ISC does not place restrictions on investment managers in choosing investments in companies, except in limiting the size of single investments. The Fund’s Investment Strategy Statement is scheduled for review and consultation in the first half of 2019.
Cllr Barker, Chairman of the Essex Pension Investment Steering Committee said:
“As a Fund we recognise both our fiduciary responsibilities and the range of potential risks, including climate change, that long term investors face. Working with our advisers and investment managers we will continue to assess our investments. Our Investment Strategy Statement is scheduled for review and consultation in the first half of 2019.”