Recent Copia ESG Webinar with Guy Opperman MP, Andrew Walsh of UBS and Knut Bitustøyl of MSCI

breathe-in-the-air-a-copia-esg-webinar
  • Author : Copia Capital Management
  • Date : 5 Mar 2021

In March 2020 Copia Capital Management launched a range of ESG risk rated portfolios.

Markets were in freefall on the back of the outbreak of Covid-19, there was great uncertainty about the forthcoming US Presidential Election, US-China relations were hitting a low point and Brexit was proving to be anything but “oven ready”.

 

Not the most obvious time to launch a new product

but such was our conviction in what we had created that we pressed ahead regardless.

And it is turning out to be a great decision.

Performance of the portfolios have been excellent (in both relative and absolute terms). Had we postponed the launch we would also have “missed the bus”. ESG investing is hot – and we believe is only going to get hotter.

That’s why when Copia Capital Management and Novia Financial jointly hosted an ESG focused webinar earlier this week we had over 350 IFA’s signed up to attend.

We thought a lot about who the speakers should be. That we were able to secure the Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman MP, was a great coup. Rather unusually in the current climate, Guy threw away his prepared speech and decided to speak without notes. He gave an impassioned speech.

Guy had introduced into the House of Commons the first ever Bill bringing ESG regulations into the Pensions space.

He made it clear that introducing the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was the key thing the Government could do in the short-term – and that this would be in place by the Autumn.

He also said that 2021 would be the year when there would be a lot more focus on “social”, rather than simply environmental issues. Stewardship within businesses and the voting rights of shareholders would get a lot more focus.

One area that saw some divergence of opinion amongst the audience was on whether it was right to engage with the likes of BP and Shell, to work with them as they transform themselves into Clean Energy Companies, or whether it was better to divest.

 

Significant implications for ESG portfolios

The Minister made his position very clear – that engagement was a much better strategy. He suggested any other approach would be short-sighted. Not everyone agreed but having a strong opinion and not being afraid to make it was well received. The Minister also provided an update on when he thought the FCA would announce a timetable for introducing new regulations on when IFA’s would be required to ask clients about their views on ESG, as part of the client on-boarding process. Whilst this really falls within the remit of his colleague, John Glen MP, the Treasury Minister, Guy said that although there had been a slight delay, the regulations would be introduced relatively “soon”. It would have been great to have gotten an exact date – because this may have significant implications for ESG portfolios – but we can at least proceed on the basis that it is close.

MSCI was represented by Knut Bitustøyl. MSCI have over 400 staff focused full time on ESG – a huge team. They work with 46 of the largest 50 asset managers. Knut highlighted that investors are demonstrating a greater willingness to take action in support of – and against – corporates. There is also a greater understanding of the potential financial benefits of investing in ESG – which is leading to an overall improvement in ESG ratings. Knut explained the very detailed research and analysis that MSCI undertakes when producing their ESG ratings. They are clearly a market leader.

Andrew Walsh represented UBS Asset Management. UBS have been working with MSCI for over 10 years on ESG and they are a pioneer on many sustainable investment ETFs. Andrew highlighted that the flows into their sustainable ETFs are rapidly accelerating – with over £8bn inflows in 2020.

The final presenter was Hoshang Daroga, representing Copia Capital Management.

When Copia launched a range of ESG Portfolios in March 2020, MSCI stood out as having the best team in measuring and modelling ESG performance. UBS was our partner of choice for selecting a range of SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) ETFs. Using these ETFs has helped keep the OCF charges extremely low, ranging from 0.17% to 0.27% across the various risk profiles.

You can watch a recording of the webinar within the post below.

Breathe in the air – an ESG Webinar

If you would like to find out more about Copia’s Select ESG portfolio range:
Contact Amelia Aitchison on 07703 188 771 or email amelia.aitchison@novia-financial.co.uk.

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