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Sustainable Development Goals: Resources

The financial services industry has a vital role to play in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Whilst policymakers often focus on the roughly £150 billion worth of official development assistance, there needs to be an increased focus on the £300 trillion of capital in the global markets. If this £300 trillion is harnessed to support, rather than undermine, sustainable development globally it could be transformative in achieving the Goals.

Here is a list of useful resources from academics, businesses, industry bodies and supranational organisations that are engaging with the SDGs and considering how financial services can respond. Though this is not an endorsement of these reports, these will be of interest to those considering the role of the financial industry and the SDGs.  As such, we have provided links to the full reports and summarised the most salient points from an actuarial perspective.  If you would like to recommend any additional resources for this list then please send them to us, along with a summary, to policy@actuaries.org.uk.

Resources

ClientEarth (2017) Risky Business: climate change and professional liability risks for DB pensions actuaries and DB investment advisers

The ClientEarth reports highlight the legal and professional responsibilities of actuaries and investment consultants advising UK defined benefit pension schemes in relation to climate change. They illustrate some of the liability risks that actuaries and their clients may face if they fail to consider broader sustainability issues. The reports draw on the Pensions Regulator’s 2017 guidance, which clarified that DB pensions trustees should assess the materiality of climate change.

EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (2018): final report on sustainable finance

The aim of this group is to make sure that capital flows towards sustainable projects and serves society’s long-term goals. As the first priority it is working on changing the investment culture and behaviour of all market participants. This includes providing more financial and other incentives to choose and offer green products. The IFoA responded to its July 2017 consultation, stating that we need an appropriate price on carbon and an end to fossil fuel subsidies, as well as mandating fiduciary duty to consider ESG factors and improving financial disclosures.

Read the final report of the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance

International Actuarial Association a Discussion Paper on Climate Change and Mortality

This IAA paper was produced to raise awareness, among actuaries and others, of the likely long-term effects of climate change on mortality around the world. It includes:

  • some of the leading research in this area
  • the possible impacts on the global population and compares vulnerable populations with those covered by insurance and retirement programs
  • mitigation/adaptation efforts that have the potential to affect human health and life, both in adverse and favourable ways
  • possible quantitative modelling approaches to assess the net effect of climate change on mortality

Principles for Responsible Investment (2017): The SDG Investment Case

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) considers 13 of the 17 SDGs directly investible (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15) with the others either being Goals where the financial sector can assist in positive transformation (SDGs 8 and 10), or where the goals support positive financial activity (SDGs 16 and17). The PRI summarises macro and micro SDG investment risks and opportunities as follows: 

Macro/Micro Risks Opportunities
Macro By the nature of their investments, asset owners that choose to hold a diversified portfolio, investing in a wide range of asset classes and geographies, will be exposed to the global challenges that the SDGs represent. Failure to achieve the SDGs will impact all countries and sectors to some degree, and as such create macro financial risks. Achieving the SDGs will be a key driver of global economic growth, which any long-term investor will acknowledge as the main ultimate structural source of financial return.
Micro  The challenges put forward by the SDGs reflect that there are very specific regulatory. ethical and operational risks which can be financially material across industries, companies, regions and countries. Companies globally moving towards more sustainable business practices, products and services provide new investment opportunities.

United Nations Global Compact and KPMG (2015): Sustainable Development Goals Matrix - Financial Services

This Matrix provides industry specific ideas for action and practical examples for each of the SDGs. It identifies four themes dies this under four key themes:

  • Access: Improving access to financial services
    Increasing financial inclusion helps individuals to improve their financial resilience and independence. This applies within developed and developing countries. The report provides examples of where improving access to financial services has contributed to reduced poverty and hunger, improved population health and increased access to education (SDGs 1, 2, 3 and 4). The report also provides examples of where support for SMEs creates jobs and economic growth (SDG 8).
     
  • Risk: Leveraging risk expertise to directly influence customer & investor behaviour
    Improving information and data reporting aids market understanding of longer-term concerns and externalities, which enables investors to make informed decisions. In turn, this facilitates innovative pricing models which incentivise more sustainable living and production (SDG 12). There are already global, financial services-wide initiatives in place to address this, such as the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
     
  • Investment
    Meeting the SDGs will require capital investment for example in renewable energy (SDGs 7 and 13) and other infrastructure projects (SDGs 6 and 9). The reports suggests this will impact asset managers in meeting the needs of impact investors, sovereign wealth funds in helping to de-risk institutional investors and institutional investors themselves taking a ;longer term investment horizon. projects (SDGs 6, 9). 
     
  • Cross-cutting issues including fiduciary duty, partnerships & corporate responsibility
    Cross-cutting financial issues include positively influencing ESG practices of corporate clients and investee companies with a positive role for stewardship and engagement. This can include assistance in the adoption of good practice principles, policies and risk frameworks to guide business transactions and investments. This could for example relate to internal practices in areas such as fair pay (living wage SDG 1, gender pay gap SDG5), diversity (SDG 10) and energy and waste (SDGs 7, 12 and 13).

World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)

WBA’s mission is to provide everyone with access to information that indicates how companies are contributing to the SDGs. It will do so by developing, funding, housing, and safeguarding free and publicly available corporate sustainability benchmarks. It will rank companies on their sustainability performance and contribution to achieving the SDGs. It is hoped that this will enable investors, civil society, governments, and individuals to exert their full influence to improve corporate sustainability performance.

 

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Events calendar

  • ARC Sessional Research Event: Drivers of Mortality - Risk Factors and Inequality

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    6 January 2020

    Spaces available

    The authors will focus on a large dataset obtained from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) and related sources. Data are available at the level of Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) – small geographical areas with, typically, 1000-2000 residents and include death counts, exposures and a significant number of socio-economic variables including the index of multiple deprivation (IMD).

  • SIAS Event: My Journey to Data Science, Big Data and AI

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 January 2020

    Spaces available

    Patrick Lee is an actuary who has made the transition to working in software architecture and artificial intelligence (AI). He holds Microsoft Professional qualifications in Data Science, Big Data and AI and is currently working towards a DevOps (the automation of software testing and deployment) qualification. He is a member of the IFoA Council and is also President of the Wessex Actuarial Society. He is also a member of the IFoA and the RSS's joint Data Science Focus Group and will talk on the ethical use of AI. 

  • Spaces available

    This IFoA event for NEDs explores what skills and experience are required to undertake non-executive roles, e.g. as independent NEDs on fund boards or members of IGCs. The event will be chaired by Brandon Horwitz, an actuary who is a consultant and who has held various investment governance roles and who specialises in investment governance as well as being an iNED.

  • Spaces available

    This presentation covers the detail for how the matching adjustment is calculated. A small simple example spreadsheet is provided and discussed in detail.

    For actuaries wanting to get more involved with the matching adjustment, this is the opportunity to get a detailed description of the mechanics involved. This includes cashflows derisking, PRA tests as well as hypothecation.

    The presentation is provided by James Sharpe who has worked on a number of matching adjustment calculations with several firms.

  • IFoA Volunteer Recognition Reception

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6DR, UK
    15 January 2020

    Spaces available

    As a thank you to all our Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) volunteers, you are invited to join us at Staple Inn Hall, for an evening of drinks, canapes and networking, in London.

    IFoA President, John Taylor, will be attending and will make a speech

    If you support the IFoA as a volunteer (member or non-member), or in any other role, and you are going to be in London on 15 January, please book your place and join us at this reception.

     

  • Sessional Meeting - Operational Risk Dependencies

    Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 9 Queen St Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    20 January 2020

    Spaces available

    The Operational Risk Working Party aims to assist actuaries and others in the modelling and management of operational risk. One of the key challenges in modelling operational risk is the modelling of dependencies between operational risks, and between operational and non-operational risks such as market, credit and insurance risk.

  • KSS event in Glasgow: Public Sector Pensions

    Hymans Robertson, Glasgow 20 Waterloo St, Glasgow
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • KSS event in Stirling: Public Sector Pensions

    M&G Prudential, Stirling Craigforth Campus, Stirling
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • KSS event in Edinburgh: Public Sector Pensions

    Hymans Robertson 1, Exchange Place, Semple St, Edinburgh
    30 January 2020

    Spaces available

    – the unappreciated key assumption, the resulting unsustainable promises, the unmanaged risk and the unrecognised debt? 

    Speaker: Allan Martin will present this talk on 30 January in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. If you wish to register for another location please return to the Events Calendar.

  • The Great Risk Transfer – Breakfast briefing and launch event

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    31 January 2020

    Spaces available

    Launch of the IFoA’s 2020 thought leadership campaign The Great Risk Transfer. The campaign will examine the trend of the transfer of risk from institutions to individuals, and how people can be better equipped to manage the financial risks they now face. At this breakfast event the IFoA will launch a call for evidence on this topic.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (11 February 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    11 February 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Sessional: Impact of E-cigarettes Working Party

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    24 February 2020

    Spaces available

    This sessional meeting will be of direct interest to actuaries and others working in the in the Health and Care, Life or Pensions sectors or indeed actuaries with an interest in morbidity or mortality. Note: Registration is from 17.30 in time for the sessional to begin at 18.00.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (25 February 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    25 February 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • What does this mean for Actuaries serving as NEDs and Trustees? These areas are likely to provide ne

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London. WC1V 6DR, UK
    19 March 2020

    Spaces available

    Recent years have seen ESG, Climate Change, and Responsible Investing thrust onto the corporate agenda in every boardroom. The same also be said for pension funds. Expectations of how companies should respond are high and NEDs on Boards are expected to adapt and adjust their guidance to companies accordingly. What does this mean for Actuaries serving as NEDs and Trustees?

  • Spring Lecture 2020, Edinburgh - Vicky Pryce

    Assembly Rooms, 54 George St, Edinburgh EH2 2LR
    25 March 2020

    Spaces available

    What next in Economic Policy?

    Please join us on 25 March 2020 for our annual Spring Lecture presented by Vicky Pryce in Edinburgh. 

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2020, Kuala Lumpur

    CCEC Nexus, 7, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    24-25 June 2020
    Spaces available

    The sixth annual Asia Conference once again offers a prestigious line-up of home and international speakers discussing the insurance and financial industry’s innovation and change in Asia. This year's conference in Kuala Lumpur will be hosted by Tan Suee Chieh, IFoA’s first Asian President. He will also make his Presidential address at this conference and will expand on the important elements of IFoA’s new strategy. 

    Additionally, this landmark conference will showcase how the IFoA is reinventing itself to support its members to succeed and thrive in a digital age, within traditional businesses and beyond, as a global organisation. 

    Not to be missed by international industry players, opinion formers, academic and industry leaders, actuaries and non-actuaries.