ART doubles sustainable investments team amid plans to increase green allocations
The Australian Retirement Trust (ART), Australia’s second-largest pension fund, is planning to double its sustainable investments team as it expands its focus on sustainable investments across its AUS$260 billion portfolio.
ART’s head of sustainable investments, Nicole Bradford (pictured), explained that issues such as climate change and the global challenge of transitioning the economy to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 mean the fund plans to increase its green capital allocations in the immediate future, and therefore the fund needs to grow the team.
“With the upcoming release of our Net Zero 2050 Roadmap outlining our current climate-related interim targets and proposed actions to support the climate transition in our portfolio, we now need to focus on building strong internal capabilities to support the investments team to implement this ambitious plan," she said.
Sydney-based Bradford added: “As a systemic risk, if climate change is left unabated, it will impact the global economy. This means that to act in member’s best financial interests and help protect their future financial wellbeing, funds should be considering climate change alongside other traditional financial matters throughout all aspects of the investment process.”
She stressed that the fund's 2.2 million members are rapidly becoming more knowledgeable and critical about ART's climate and net zero-related investments.
“What we also know is that members are becoming far more conscious of ESG issues and there is a growing demand to understand how their retirement savings are meeting sustainable objectives," Bradford mentioned.
“For this reason, we are looking to grow our team to further drive implementation of ESG and climate change activities across our investment portfolio, as well as build out and deliver a number of areas of focus the Fund is undertaking."
ART is currently recruiting for a senior portfolio manager – ESG Member Choice Options & Impact Investments; portfolio manager – Research & Reporting; portfolio manager – ESG Member Choice Options; portfolio manager – Impact Investments; portfolio manager – Stewardship (Public Markets); associate portfolio Manager – Public Markets ESG Integration; a senior portfolio analyst – Private Markets ESG Integration and Stewardship as well as a senior portfolio analyst – ESG Data & Analytics.
The expansion of the team and the increased focus on sustainable investments come amid the fund's recent announcement that its CEO is planning to step down.
Bernard Reilly will leave the fund in February 2024, two years after executing Australia’s largest pension fund merger between Sunsuper and QSuper.
ART’s Chair Andrew Fraser paid tribute to the organisational culture Reilly will leave behind.
“Bern will leave an incredible legacy, having played an integral role in delivering Australia’s largest superannuation merger to create Australian Retirement Trust back in February 2022,” said Fraser.
“Bern has expertly guided Australian Retirement Trust to grow our funds under administration to more than AUS$260 billion. But I think the thing Bern should be proudest of, and a true testament to his leadership capabilities, is the culture he has helped grow across our organisation.”
ART has appointed Egon Zehnder to start a global executive search for a new CEO. Reilly will remain as the Fund’s CEO until February 2024, marking two years since the merger.