The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has appointed Mary Starks to lead a review of The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

This is in line with the expectation that public bodies are reviewed each parliament. Minister for pensions Laura Trott has asked Starks to aim to deliver the review report in May 2023.

Trott said: “All public bodies must ensure that they are accountable and working for taxpayers. Mary Starks has a background working in the regulatory sector and with public bodies, which will help her to deliver effective recommendations.”

Starks’ previous experience includes serving as executive member of the board and director of competition and chief economist at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

She has also served as executive director of Ofgem, focussed on innovation, customer behaviour and safeguarding public confidence while moving towards a net zero carbon and digitalised energy system.

Starks added: “The Pensions Regulator plays a vital role protecting the interests of savers and ensuring employees benefit from workplace pensions. As well as drawing on my own regulatory experience, I look forward to hearing from stakeholders from across the pensions sector and working closely with the teams at DWP and TPR.”

Smart Pension adds JP Morgan ETF to sustainable default growth fund

Workplace pension provider Smart Pension has invested in JP Morgan Asset Management’s Carbon Transition Global Equity (CTB) UCITS ETF.

The ETF focuses on driving the shift to a lower-carbon economy and is part of a wider initiative to make Smart Pension’s default growth fund net zero by 2040, it was announced.

The JP Morgan fund is a sustainable ETF classified as Article 9 by the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation and offers Smart Pension core exposure to global equities with a low tracking error, compared to the MSCI World Index.

The ETF is aligned with the European Union’s Climate Transition Benchmark framework, meaning it will be at least 30% less carbon intensive than the market average and reduce its own carbon footprint by at least 7% per year.

The news comes after Smart Pension announced it had become the first UK pension provider to offer customers a range of growth funds that are all fully sustainable, including the Smart Pension default fund, in January 2023.

Smart Pension has made considerable progress in incorporating investments with a strong sustainability focus into its portfolio, and intends to continue doing so. The company is a member of several global sustainability initiatives and has announced that its default growth fund will be net zero by 2040.

Paul Bucksey, chief investment officer at Smart Pension, said JP Morgan’s ETF was chosen “because it is committed to companies carrying out simple changes to make a big difference: lowering their carbon emissions, reducing harmful waste and improving their sustainability processes”.

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