UK Pensions raise stewardship ambitions

July 9, 2021

This week marked the inaugural meeting of the Occupational Pensions Stewardship council, a new Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) initiative responding to a recent push for improved stewardship and ESG reporting.

The Council has been set up by the DWP following recommendations made in the Treasury-led Investing with Purpose Report, that a “dedicated council of UK pension schemes should be established to promote and facilitate high standards of stewardship of pension assets.”

At the time of launch, a total of 28 pension schemes responsible for more than £550 billion of assets under management have signed up, with a strong focus on occupational pension schemes and Local Government Pension Scheme pools looking to build a greater understanding of stewardship practices.

As the Council grows, the DWP wishes for it to provide a platform for sharing best practices and research. The initiative will aim to increase pension scheme involvement in stewardship activities such as shareholder resolutions, climate change reporting, and corporate governance.

Minister for Pensions Guy Opperman issued a statement following the inaugural meeting recognising “the role of pension schemes, trustees and asset managers over the next five to ten years” as “utterly vital in the passage of his country, and the entire world, to net zero.”

It is hoped that the work of the Council to improve pension stewardship will facilitate both sustainable financial returns, and better short, medium and long-term outcomes for hard-working pension savers.

Council members will set the annual work plan and make decisions together and will be supported by an engagement group comprised of Council members and key stakeholders.

Notably, this new Council may play an important role in guiding pensions toward TCFD compliance, after new measures passed this year by the UK government will soon make such reporting mandatory.

Council member list:

  • BAE Systems Pension Scheme
  • BBC Pension Trust Ltd
  • Border to Coast Pensions Partnership
  • Brunel Pension Partnership
  • BT Pension Scheme
  • Church of England Funded Pension Scheme
  • Creative Pension Trust
  • Crystal
  • Cushon Master Trust
  • HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited
  • LGPS Central
  • London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA)
  • Lothian Pension Fund
  • Nationwide Pension Fund (Nationwide section)
  • NatWest Group Pension Fund
  • NEST Corporation
  • Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC)
  • NOW: Pensions
  • RPMI Railpen
  • Reed Elsevier Pension Scheme
  • Scottish Widows
  • Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London (SAUL)
  • The Co-operative Pension Scheme (PACE)
  • Shell (Royal Dutch Shell) Contributory Pension Fund
  • Smart Pension
  • Tesco Plc Pension Scheme
  • TPT
  • Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS)
Last Updated: 9 July 2021