NSW Treasury Corporation (Tcorp) is expecting to expand its ESG and stewardship strategy across all client portfolios. And it is likely to implement “more significant” ESG characteristics for some of its funds.
To this end, Tcorp has filled the vacant head of investment stewardship role with the recruitment of Lucy Thomas from Willis Towers Watson, where she was global head of sustainability. She now joins Tcorp’s senior analyst for investment stewardship, Komal Jalan, in her new role.
The Tcorp role was made vacant when former head, Kylie Willment, departed last year to take up the CIO position at Mercer, which had itself been made vacant earlier in the year with the departure of Russell Clarke to become CIO of VFMC.
Stewart Brentnall, Tcorp’s CIO, said the philosophy of the NSW Government’s investment manager and debt issuance firm was that ESG/stewardship should be a pervasive strategy and not a “shelf option”.
“This strategy will evolve and become a clearer proposition in all client portfolios, once we develop our measurement capabilities,” he said.
“In addition to this, we do have some clients – typically councils – which have stronger views on some aspects of ESG. While we do not currently intend to issue new products, per se, we are likely to implement more significant ESG characteristics in some of the funds through which these clients already invest.”
The NSW Government has issued an instruction that TCorp should not invest client (government) assets in controversial weapons businesses. They have been excluded from all portfolios.
Brentnall said the Government might, over time, issue similar instructions in other sectors. “Several of our clients have their own ESG policies,” he said, “and have also instructed us to exclude tobacco securities from their portfolios.”