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Pension dashboard should display impact information, says taskforce

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Information about investments’ impact on society and the environment should be included in UK pension dashboards, a government-commissioned impact investing group has said.

The Implementation Taskforce for social impact investing said the government could encourage engagement with their retirement savings – one of the intentions behind the dashboard – by telling consumers about aspects of their investments “to which they can easily relate and about which they care”.

The suggestion was made by the body charged with following up on recommendations for “growing a culture of social impact investing” in the UK. These were made by an independent advisory group set up by the UK government in December 2016. Elizabeth Corley, former CEO of Allianz Global Investors, chaired the advisory group and was also asked to lead the “implementation taskforce”.

In its response to the government’s consultation on the pension dashboards – which aim to collate individuals’ pension data in one place – the taskforce said there was a growing body of evidence showing that savers cared about the impact their money had on society and the environment.

“We… think that communicating the real life relevance of people’s investments and their impact on society and the environment is a key way to encourage savers to engage with their savings and therefore should in time be included in the pensions dashboard,” it said.

Elizabeth Corley

Elizabeth Corley, head of the UK’s social impact investing Implementation Taskforce

“Once the technology has bedded in and the pensions and investment industry has had time to gather and feed in the appropriate data… steps should be taken to communicate impact to savers.”

According to a recent report, most corporates do not provide information that allows investors to understand their impacts on society and the environment.

Separately, academics and investors involved in another project, the Cambridge Impact Framework, have said that the data to properly assess the social and environmental impact of investment funds is missing. Using limited existing data, they developed a framework to help the investment industry assess funds against outcomes linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Supporters of the impact investing implementation taskforce include NEST Corporation, the government-initiated auto-enrolment provider, and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

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