UK Taskforce on Social Factors
Following the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) consultation on consideration of social risks and opportunities by occupational pension schemes, the Taskforce on Social Factors was established in the UK in February 2023. The Taskforce aims to raise awareness and develop a common understanding of social risks and opportunities which can be addressed by pensions scheme trustees, industry and policymakers.
The taskforce, made up of a wide variety of industry practitioners from pension funds, asset managers, insurers, relevant non-government organisations, and a range of regulators and government departments as observers, has produced a draft report to provide guidance to help pension trustees incorporate social factors into their investment and stewardship decision making and thus to help them manage financially material social risks and opportunities.
The proposals within the report represent the views of the Taskforce and not the DWP.
This is now the opportunity for the industry to ‘have your say’ on the guidance, frameworks and recommendations outlined in the report. It is the Taskforce’s aim to ensure that the final output is useful and actionable for the UK pension trustees and helps schemes make a step change in integrating social factor considerations into their work. The Taskforce is therefore seeking views on the current draft of the report and proposals on any useful additions to be taken into account in the final paper.
The consultation focusses on the perspective of UK pension funds and will be most relevant to pension industry participants in the UK, while also bearing relevance to asset owners from other jurisdictions to some degree. In addition to hearing from UK pension funds, the Taskforce invites views from the following:
Data providers and proxy voting agencies
Civil society/non-governmental organisations
Industry groups and trade bodies
Public and private businesses
Government departments and regulators
The taskforce would like to hear views on the following questions in regard to the draft report:
- Do you agree the report will be helpful for pension scheme trustees to better understand social issues and the impetus to act on them?
- For scheme trustees, does this report adequately address and provide a way forward for your scheme circumstances?
- Do you see the proposed systematic materiality assessment framework for social factors as something you can practically implement in your portfolio?
- Do you believe the three-level framework for addressing social factors in pension portfolios provides useful developmental guidance?
- Do you agree with the resulting recommendations for the pensions ecosystem?
- Do you find the information in appendices practical and informative?
- Is there anything else that you would like to see covered?
In early December, the Taskforce will also be running a number of face to face roundtables to discuss the draft and would welcome the input from industry. To express your interest in attending a roundtable or if you want to participate in the consultation on the guide (which closes on Friday, December 1 2023), please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Government department and regulator observers|
|Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy|
|Department for Culture, Media and Sport|
|Department for Work and Pensions (Secretariat)|
|Financial Conduct Authority|
|Financial Reporting Council|
|Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office|
|The Pensions Regulator|
|Rob Yuille||Association of British Insurers|
|Maria Busca||Association of British Insurers|
|Clare Richards||Church of England Pensions Board|
|Amanda Latham||IFM Investors|
|Sapna Patel||Lane, Clark & Peacock|
|Paul Hunter||Local Authority Pension Fund Forum|
|Shayne Halfpenny-Ray||The Phoenix Group|
|Elena Espinoza||The Phoenix Group|
|Oscar Warwick Thompson||UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association|
|Heidi Douglas-Osborn||UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association|
|Abigail Hall||Scottish Widows|
|Bella Landymore||Impact Investing Institute|
|Michael Jones||Eversheds Sutherland|