Across the Board on ESG

With this edition of Institutional Allocator, we bring you this new feature we’ve dubbed Across the Board. In it, IA asks its advisory board members–who collectively represent broad investment industry expertise–to share thoughtful observations on selected industry themes and topics. To Inaugurate the feature, IA recently asked board members to comment on a few basic …

Asset Owner Profile: Ariz. Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Black Follows the Money

Cameron Black is chief investment officer and treasurer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in Phoenix. He is responsible for the company’s short- and long-term investment strategies and overseas its risk management. Prior to joining BCBSAZ, Black held positions in television production, was an independent investment adviser and a director in the foundation arm of a biomedical research institute. …

Aussie Coal Mine Court Ruling Illuminates Reg. Risk in ESG Investing

The decision by an Australian court earlier this month to prohibit the opening of a coal mine because the mine would contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and set back the fight against climate change is being characterized by some socially responsible investing specialists as a judicial first in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) …

S&P to Spotlight ESG Risk in Corporate Debt

SS&P Global Ratings will add a new emphasis on environmental, social and governance (ESG) evaluations of corporations within its issuer credit rating reports. “What we are doing is making it easier for a reader [of our reports] to find any credit-related ESG factors that are driving the credit rating,” said Nicole Martin, senior director, sustainable …

Corp. Pension Plans Must Explore Risk Strategies for a Volatile 2019, Consultants Say

With stock market volatility currently high and trade war fears still in the air, consultants and asset managers are looking to 2019 as a year when corporate defined-benefit pension plans will need to review their risk assets, evaluate new investment strategies and focus more on matching their assets and liabilities. “Looking forward to 2019, we …

New Tax Law & Increased Discount Rate Impact Year- End Corporate DB Funding Status

The estimated aggregate funding level of the 1,500 defined benefit pension plans listed on the S&P Composite 1,500 Index, year-end 2018, increased to 85 percent from 84 percent, at the end of 2017, according to data compiled by Mercer. The reason for the rise in funding levels may be two-fold. Deep drops in the equity …

The Future of Obligations-Based Investing, Preserving DB Benefit Plans

Panelists at Markets Group’s Sixth Annual Texas Institutional Forum, in Austin, gathered together to tackle the pros and cons of implementing obligation-based or liability-driven investment (LDI) policies at pension funds. The discussion was predicated on the idea that the typically complicated process of administering the investments of a pension plan can be simplified, somewhat, by focusing on a fund’s …

Cybersecurity is a Bigger ESG Concern for Institutions than Climate Change, Terrorism

“Cybersecurity risk is now a board-level concern, and how companies both prepare and react – or don’t – can have long-term implications on share value,” Jennifer Peet, corporate governance director for the Office of Oregon Treasurer and the Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement Fund told IA’s Kaitlyn Mitchell. “Cybersecurity has been a growing concern for several …

Asset Owners Must Reconsider Business Models to Succeed in the Future: Consultant’s Report

Asset owners looking to succeed in a world of substantial changes in technology, demography, globalization, environment and social norms will need to significantly reposition their business, operating and investment models, according to new research from global advisory broking and solutions company, Willis Towers Watson. In a just-released paper, titled The Asset Owner of Tomorrow, the …

Sexual Harassment is Institutions’ Top Emerging Due Diligence Target: IA Survey

Institutional investors surveyed by IA recently on the importance they attach to four ascendant asset-manager engagement due-diligence criteria indicated that they place the most importance on managers’ records on sexual harassment, followed in descending order of importance by their records on environmental, social and governance (ESG), cybersecurity and diversity. In response to a brief thought …