The £35bn (€41bn) investment manager for the UK’s railways pensions schemes has become a shareholder in UK recipe box company Gouston as part of its secondary placing of $230m.

The placement was led by SoftBank, with Railpen joined by Fidelity Internaitonal and Grosvenor Food & AgTech (formerly Wheatsheaf Group) as newcomers on the share register.

Gousto said Railpen’s backing was an endorsement of “Gousto’s positive impact on both people and planet, and the unwavering commitment of its leadership team to this purpose”.

A spokesperson for Railpen said the investment was “sizeable” and part of the railways investor’s long-term investment strategy and “the latest step in its journey to net zero”.

Railpen has a 2050 net-zero target. It is aiming to halve financed emissions by 2030 and cut them by 25-30% by 2025, relative to 2020.

PLSA voting and stewardship guidelines

The Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has updated its stewardship and voting guidelines with added emphasis on climate, executive pay and diversity.

For example, the industry body is advising pension schemes to look for evidence that companies are taking their Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) seriously as part of their investment plans to help rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, companies are being encouraged to to be cautious on how they are attributing pay to their business leaders, especially where they have benefited from government support, and to ensure their governance arrangements are diverse and inclusive.

“Investors recognise how incredibly tough the past two years have been for companies to navigate,” said Nigel Peaple, director of policy & advocacy at the PLSA.

“While being empathetic to these issues, AGM season is an opportunity for pension scheme trustees and their asset managers to engage with company directors, to revisit environmental, social and governance policies and seize the chance to build back better than before. As part of this we have strengthened the language on expectations on TCFD disclosures, to which all companies should be held accountable.”

Regulator gives ’XYZ’ example in bid to help with new climate-related rules

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said it was offering trustees and advisers extra help as they work through comprehensive new duties on climate-related governance and reporting.

The help comes in the firm of an illustrative example charting how trustees of a fictitious XYZ pension scheme approach meeting the requirements of the new regulations.

TPR said the example sought to address specific requests made by the pensions industry during the regulator’s eight-week consultation on its guidance covering the new rules

The regulations initially apply to authorised schemes and those with relevant assets of £5bn or more but will also start to apply to schemes with relevant assets of £1bn or more from 1 October. The Department for Work and Pensions has said it will consider whether to roll the rules out to smaller schemes in 2023.

Longevity analytics firm restructures

Club Vita, a longevity data analytics company founded in the UK in 2008, has consolidated its operations in the UK, US and Canada under a sole parent company.

The merger of the operations transfers three separate Club ita businesses from founders Hymans Robertson and Eckler to a newly-created and operationally independent business, Club Vita LLP.

According to Club Vita, it has releationships with 400 pension funds, seven pension advisory businesses and 25 insurers globally.

“We’re excited to launch this new chapter as an independent data analytics business, designed to help an increasingly broad range of organisations deliver innovative solutions in managing longevity uncertainty,” said Jennifer Haid, group chief executive officer of Club Vita LLP.

“From a statistical perspective, we’ve learned that the inter-country similarities in longevity patterns are more profound than their differences. Our big data philosophy is the genesis for an international standard for longevity analytics and efficiently enables a wider range of analysis powered by cross market insights.”

Campaign group links pension money to deforestation

Campaign group Make My Money Matter is calling on pesnion schemes to commit to deforestation-free portfolios, saying over £300bn of UK pension assets are ultimately invested in corporates and financial institutions with high deforestation risk.

It defined deforestation-free portfolios as involving:

  • A short-term focus on elimination of commodity-driven deforestation at the companies in investment portfolios and in financing activities by 2025;
  • Action on wider deforestation across all sectors and asset classes, as soon as possible, as data increasingly becomes available;
  • Working towards a goal of deforestation-free portfolios based on accepted industry and NGO definitions, including eliminating the associated human rights abuses.

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