Devil’s Advocates | Morning Panel
William Bourne, Independent Adviser
Vanessa Jacka, Portfolio Manager, Brunel Pension Partnership
Eric Lambert, Independent Adviser
08:30 – 09:00
Registration & Welcome Refreshments
09:00 – 09:05
Chair’s Opening Remarks
Border to Coast Pensions Partnership
09:05 – 09:25
Presentation: A fixed income forecast
The traditional role of fixed income in a diversified portfolio is still necessary, but the means of obtaining the benefits are no longer the same. Given the elevated volatility of interest rates and the correlations between risk-on and risk-off assets, conventional approaches to fixed income have proven inadequate in providing meaningful diversification. It is therefore necessary to take an active stance. This session will examine fixed income performance worldwide and offer insights into the market’s outlook and potential opportunities for investors in 2024.
Head of International Fixed Income and CIO
T. Rowe Price
09:25 – 09:45
Presentation: Global equities: The “Roller Coaster 20s” – why this decade can end with a roar
The 2020s thus far have already seen a global pandemic, two bear markets, the highest inflation in a generation, and the fastest Fed tightening cycle in history. Through all of this, equities have seen shifting market leadership from early COVID beneficiaries to reopening cyclical companies, to the Magnificent 7 technology stocks. And yet, the stock market experience in aggregate has been remarkably average so far. Yet – we believe the opportunity is ripe for innovation to usher in an era of prosperity similar to the “Roaring 20s” from a decade ago. Trends such as artificial intelligence, health and wellness, reshoring/deglobalisation, and sustainability represent a ripe landscape for longer-term growth opportunities. In this discussion, we will dive into to why this decade could end with a roar for those who stay invested and focus on the long term.
09:45 – 10:25
Panel: Private markets
During the era of ultra-low interest rates, LGPS funds diversified away from equities and increased allocations to private markets. How will higher interest rates change perceptions about the attractiveness and role of private markets in the coming years? And what role will they play in meeting our commitments to sustainability in general and net zero in particular?
Managing Director, Head of Investments and Research
Head of European Private Debt
BlackRock Portfolio Management Group
Head of Private Debt
Pictet Asset Management
Border to Coast Pensions Partnership
10:25 – 11:00
Roundtable Discussion: Pooling objectives for the LGPS
Pooling was intended to reduce costs, broaden investment opportunities and improve investment decision making. Have these expectations been met? The government recently set out its timetable for the completion of asset pooling (by 2025) and the further consolidation of asset pools (by 2040). Are these objectives achievable or even desirable? What other objectives do LGPS funds want their pools to deliver?
11:00 – 11:20
11:20 – 12:00
Panel: Levelling up and infrastructure
Levelling up covers a very broad range of investment opportunities across multiple asset types. What might this mean in practice for investment in physical assets? This session will delve into the definition of investment objectives, case studies of local projects and the range of potential returns available.
Senior Investment Consultant
Senior Investment Manager
Greater Manchester Pension Fund
Director, Real Estate
Managing Director, Infrastructure Investments
12:00 – 12:20
Presentation: Investing in sustainable infrastructure – net zero ambitions and levelling up opportunities
Our way of life is needing to evolve – overuse of finite natural resources is resulting in challenges that mean the way we live has to change. Significant investment is needed in profitable, new sustainable infrastructure that can support and accelerate the changes and innovative solutions required to address key environmental and societal challenges, and help meet levelling up commitments. Peter will discuss specific examples of how to combine financial returns from sustainable infrastructure with the positive impact required for the UK.
Managing Director, Sustainable Infrastructure
12:20 – 12:40
Presentation: How social bond investing can help LGPS funds allocate capital productively
With a great deal of press being written about pension funds allocating capital in unproductive ways, this session will dig deeper into how social bond investing can help LGPS funds allocate to an asset class delivering real world change.
Senior Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income
Columbia Threadneedle Investments
12:40 – 13:00
Presentation: How can investing in private assets help reduce carbon emissions?
Investing for climate change represents a strong shared objective but presents challenges. Investors are concerned about a lack of standardisation in metrics and measurement as well as the scope and scale of opportunity. This session will explore the evolution of the opportunity set, the challenges of carbon reporting, and how a solutions approach can assist in achieving climate related decarbonization objectives.
Head of Private Asset Solutions
13:00 – 13:05
Devil’s Advocate Summaries
13:05 – 14:00
Devil’s Advocates | Afternoon Panel
Adrian Brown, Independent Investment Adviser, Dyfed Pension Fund
Anthony Fletcher, Independent Adviser
Fiona Miller, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Border to Coast Pensions Partnership
14:00 – 14:20
Presentation: Unlocking opportunities from the evolution of the renewables market
Optimising our existing renewable infrastructure presents a unique opportunity to make a substantial impact and achieve significant resource savings. This includes reducing the demand for additional grid connections, materials, and permit applications – an economically viable and sustainable solution crucial for reaching net-zero goals. Join us as we delve into this innovative strategy, leveraging opportunities within aging assets. Discover how aligning environmental impact with financial gains can contribute to the renewable energy goals of the UK and wider Europe, whilst providing attractive potential returns for investors.
UK Investment Director
14:20 – 14:40
Interview: Real estate
The real estate market has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. A challenging macroeconomic backdrop combined with secular growth trends such as e-commerce penetration and hybrid working models, has created uncertainty, which PIMCO believes presents compelling opportunities within the asset class for UK LGPS. From technological trends and demand for digital infrastructure, to the persistent undersupply of affordable homes in the UK, we see opportunities in the residential, logistics, and data centre sectors, that we expect to be resilient in the current environment.
Executive Vice President, Portfolio Manager
14:40 – 15:00
Presentation: Fighting deforestation to preserve biodiversity
We all depend on nature and biodiversity; its what makes life possible, provides health and social benefits and drives our economy. Nature is also critical in tackling the climate crisis, and yet we are not doing enough. In this session our speaker will discuss the scale and urgency of the global risk to society, and how this is driving commitments and action from governments, regulators and consumers alike. For savvy investors, the great challenge of our time presents opportunities to invest in private companies delivering impactful solutions for the future of our planet as well as financial return.
Natural Capital Lead, Natural Capital & Impact Investments
AXA IM Alts
15:00 – 15:35
Roundtable Discussion: Levelling up
Levelling up has been presented by the Government as an opportunity for growth, innovation and transformation across the UK. As the LGPS is one of the UK’s largest institutional investors, it has been highlighted as a source of capital to invest in projects that align with the government’s aims. As we move into a new landscape whereby funds will have a target to invest 5% of capital in levelling up projects, discussion about the opportunities this presents and potential roadblocks to achieving this target has become ever more important. This session will cover these topics as well as the ways that funds will need to be supported on this journey.
Local Government Association
15:35 – 15:55
15:55 – 16:35
Panel: Impact investing across public and private markets
The LGPS collectively is one of the largest pension funds in the world and has a long history of investing its capital responsibly. In recent years there has been growing interest in assessing the wider impact of investments beyond pure financial returns. This session will explore the evolution of investing for impact and consider the practical challenges of implementing investment strategies to achieve this.
Head of Pensions
Avon Pension Fund
Alternative Sustainable Investment Specialist
Head of Private Equity
Impact Measurement & Management Practice Leader
16:35 – 16:55
Presentation: Currency matters. Reducing portfolio risk, and improving portfolio returns, by managing “uncompensated” risk
Globally invested pension funds typically see between 20% and 40% of their annual risk “budget” being consumed by foreign exchange exposure risk. And yet, as investors, we have been trained to believe that currency “does not matter”. Using Westminster Pension Fund as a case study, and utilising current market views, we will explore practical solutions for the Foreign Exchange risk challenge, and identify methods to transform this risk into potential profit opportunities that can be used to improve cash flow, and pay pensions.
Bruce D. George
16:55 – 17:15
Interview: Impact investing in UK real estate, social housing and beyond
Social housing is not the only sector in UK real estate where return and impact objectives can be achieved. The built environment has a huge influence on people’s everyday lives and, as responsible property investors, we recognise our investment decisions have an impact on people, place and planet. Social and environmental impact investing as well as place-based impact investing are intrinsically linked, with real estate owners playing a natural role in both reducing carbon emissions from the built environment and providing social infrastructure that directly impacts the economic resilience of local communities. Investing in real estate with a social use value, such as town centres, education, residential, healthcare and community hubs provides attractive opportunities for a diversified impact portfolio without compromising returns. Our discussion is about moving the narrative of impact investing in real estate beyond just social housing.
Real Return Fund Portfolio Manager
17:15 – 17:25
Devil’s Advocate Summaries
17:25 – 17:30
Chair’s Closing Remarks
Border to Coast Pensions Partnership
17:30 – 18:30
Dinner: The Ivy City Garden