Insurance Asset Risk Awards 2022 - UK & Europe

Responsible investor of the year - re/insurer - Wesleyan

Martin LawrenceAfter conducting in-depth research into customers, colleagues and competitors, Wesleyan launched its enhanced sustainable investing approach and formal policy in October 2021. Importantly, it distinguished itself from other providers by applying this to all its directly-managed customer funds, not just a selection of them.

The sustainable investing policy builds on existing processes to create a foundation of three new principles: reducing harm, positive impact and driving change. Each principle incorporates a range of responsible investment considerations, including clear environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarks, which allow Wesleyan to measure how effectively it is delivering against them.

And for the fund of funds range managed by external managers, the insurer has a robust ESG-focused due diligence questionnaire and process to ensure alignment with its own stance.

Judges praised the fact that, whilst Wesleyan is a relatively small firm, responsible investing has been integrated into the heart of its decision making. It is "good to see policy applied across all directly managed customer funds, active engagement through voting and divestment examples," one judge said.

Martin Lawrence, director of investments at Wesleyan, said: "Responsible investors should consider numerous ESG factors in their work. Though the two bookends of 'ESG' have been under the investment spotlight for a while, and progress in those areas is still needed, the industry must give greater attention to 'social' issues moving forward.

"This isn't just because it's the right thing to do, but also because people have the power to improve sustainability across the global stage, as individuals in their communities and as consumers able to demand positive change from companies."