The March Digital Summit: Facing the New World Together 

Pardon the Interruption

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This week we hosted our first mallowstreet Digital Summit of 2021. A year into the pandemic, we paused to take stock of what we have learned – taking dedicated time out to ensure we are better informed in order to make better decisions. Taking time for learning like this is crucial, because it helps everyone get closer to achieving their ultimate goal: that pension funds can meet their respective obligations, paying pensions on time and in full.
 
The theme of the Summit was ‘The New World’; given a global backdrop that is hopeful, and yet highly uncertain. The UK and most of Europe have spent the first quarter of 2021 in lockdown and, as of today, more than 28m people (43% of the UK population) have now had their first jab. Will 21 June prove to be the euphoric moment many hope for, or will the reopening of the economy and subsequent recovery put us on a rockier road than we even dare fear?
 
To help us better understand the current investment environment, we invited four world class asset managers to share their insights in the investment masterclasses:
 
  • Buy & maintain – the challenges of decarbonisation (Janus Henderson)
  • Merits of investing in residential real estate (M&G Investments)
  • Generating income from private markets (PIMCO)
  • Driving impact through lending (Pollen Street Capital)
 
Our keynote presenters expanded our minds and shared their insights into some of the monumental problems the world faces, and how these might play out in the future. We left the summit with a clearer understanding of what our peers are thinking and doing, and how others are approaching similar challenges. 
 
To apply what everyone learned in the keynotes and the investment masterclasses, we worked through a case study which tells the story of the SkyBlue Pension Fund – a large, reasonably well-funded defined benefit pension fund of a UK-based commercial airline. We looked through the lenses of risk, return, ESG, covenant and governance as we tackled key questions for the fund, and as a result took away critical thinking for the pension funds we run and advise.
 
It was a fantastic day and a half. For those who attended, what were your main takeaways? How has your thinking evolved, and what are you doing differently today that you were not doing earlier this week?
 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on mallowstreet.com