Stockholm (NordSIP) – Storebrand announced it has been mandated to its first major UK pension fund following a £400 million investment by the East Sussex Pension Fund (ESPF). Storebrand is Norway’s largest private asset manager. As of September 2020, Storebrand’s £76 billion in assets under management follow the Storebrand Policy for Sustainable Investments. Since 2007 Storebrand has owned SPP, which it acquired Handelsbanken’s life-insurance and pensions business.
“The Energy Transition presents challenges that touch every country, sector and company,” Councillor Gerard Fox, Chair of the East Sussex Pension Fund, commented. “For an LGPS Fund it defies simple investment versus divestment decisions, requiring company engagement and a whole portfolio approach. Investing in generic passive indices, while a perfectly acceptable part of any pension strategy, tends to weight exposure to older and often more carbon-intensive incumbents over which no investor due diligence has taken place. Such an approach sits less well with heightened due diligence around ESG risks. ESPF is very pleased to partner with Storebrand as a part of its strategy to address these challenges.”
ESPF has £3.9 billion of assets and is part of the UK Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The British pension fund selected the Storebrand Global ESG Plus strategy in a move to invest in fossil fuel-free businesses and in companies providing climate solutions. The equity strategy aims for long-term alignment with the Paris Agreement goals and exhibits lower carbon risk with higher climate solutions and ESG scores than the world index.
“We are delighted to be working with the East Sussex Pension Fund, who share our urgency to tackle climate risk and shift investments in the right direction,” Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, commented. “Their investment also represents an important step for Storebrand’s international development and is a welcome endorsement of our sustainable investment solutions.”
The new mandate is part of Storebrand’s continued expansion and its first salvo on the other side of the Channel. SKAGEN Funds, a subsidiary of Storebrand, distributes the Norwegian asset manager’s sustainable index-based solutions and factor strategies in the UK and will handle this mandate.
“East Sussex Pension Fund is taking a lead on portfolio climate risk management and we are delighted to be partnering with them – we share the same long-term goals, aligning the portfolio with the risks and opportunities associated with a future compliant with the Paris Agreement,” Lauren Juliff, Head of UK Institutional and Climate Specialist of SKAGEN Funds, added.