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Hiro Mizuno

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Jessica Fries

The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S)


Financing Our Future: Actions to scale up and accelerate the pace of change towards a more sustainable financial system

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Asset Owner Series

CFANY Joins Crucial Conversation with Timely Climate and ESG Asset Owner Summit

CFA Society New York hosts historic event and speaker lineup, coinciding with Climate Week NYC and launch of joint-report on ESG integration in the Americas

NEW YORK, SEPT. 26, 2018 – More than ever, CFA Society New York’s (“CFANY”) Asset Owner Series, is shaping the conversation of the investment management industry.

The expansive series raised the bar yet again with Monday’s Climate and ESG Asset Owner Summit in front of a sold-out audience at the CFANY headquarters in Time Square. Discussion was led and informed by asset-owner representatives spanning five continents and dedicated to the rise and status of sustainable investing among asset owners.

“From panel to panel,” moderator Robert Rowan said, “the tone and tenor of the discussion that took place proved just as refreshing—and insightful—as the theme that which the conference was based on is vital.”

The conference was a valuable addition to the respective lineups of Climate Week NYC and Global Goals Week as well, constituting one of the largest one-day gatherings of asset owner speaker representatives, by assets under management, in history.

In totality, it boasted 54 speakers and 200-plus attendees who combined to represent $9.5 trillion—or 12% of total owned institutional assets, globally—and tens of trillions of dollars of institutionally managed assets.

The overarching focus of the day was aptly bestowed to environmental, social and governance (ESG) trends and developments across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

An exceptional assortment of unique backgrounds and regional perspectives lent itself to a diverse set of ideas, considerations and solutions, but in terms of the factors that will ultimately necessitate ESG growth, many of the speakers were in lockstep.

It will take time, they posit, above all else.

 Data will require more time to become more reliable. Many technologies will require time to develop as well. Electric-powered cars, for example, will take time to become the superior mode of personal transportation, then also take years to replace the world’s existing fleet of vehicles.

The variable and oftentimes contrasting nature of ESG-related regulations that exist in the US versus that of other developed countries around the world quickly revealed itself to be of near-universal concern to the participating asset owners. As the gap expands, they say, so too does their level of risk.

Compelling debate over the merits and effectiveness of a multitude of both voluntary and involuntary ESG changes, respectively served to highlight many of the same questions that global policy makers are conceivably tasked with considering themselves. Such discussion illustrates just how certain it is that a one-size-fits-all solution will remain elusive to us as a global community, and stresses the unmistakable importance of our ability—and willingness—to seek compromise.

Ahead of this event, CFANY, CFA Institute and 23 other CFA societies across the world teamed up with Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) to conduct a comprehensive 2017 global ESG integration study, covering equities, bonds and sovereign debt.  The study results are expected to be published in the form of four separate reports, each covering ESG trends in the Americas, Europe and APAC, and supplemented by a fourth report consisting of case studies.

Asset Owner Series™ (“AOS”) was founded by CFA Institute Inaugural Global Outstanding Young Leader Thomas Brigandi and traces its roots back to late-2015.

“This historic summit, the 70th event I’ve ever organized, is the proudest achievement of my volunteer career,” said Brigandi, lead organizer of the ESG Summit and founder of Global Asset Owner Series.

“To be in the presence of folks like [CIO of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)] Hiro Mizuno, and [California Insurance Commissioner] Dave Jones—and so many other industry leaders—is a truly remarkable achievement that wouldn’t have been possible without the work of hundreds of fellow-CFA Society and CFA Institute members.”

Since its relatively humble beginnings, Asset Owner Series™ has gone global and, arguably, evolved into CFANY’s seminal offering. Its emergence has foreseeably coincided with a rapid ascent in both membership growth and global recognition for the local society at which it was conceived.

Fittingly, Climate and ESG Asset Owner Summit—the latest addition to the serialized AOS conference lineup—stands to represent the 70th CFANY event organized by Brigandi and marked his 500th speaker and 13,000th conference attendee.