Morgan Sindall adds ESG funds to pension scheme following staff survey

Morgan Sindall retirement savings plan is a trust-based arrangement with around 5,000 members. In 2019, the employer surveyed its member’s views on responsible investment, looking at the importance of this both in their day-to-day lives and with regards to their retirement savings. Almost a third (30%) of members responded, and their answers revealed a strong appetite for an environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund provided it had only a very modest impact on returns and fees.

More than 61% said that it was either ‘very important’ or ‘important’ that the people managing their money actively consider ESG issues when choosing stocks, while 56% said that if they knew their retirement savings were making a positive environmental or social impact, they would view the organisation more favourably.

Following the survey, the trustees took the decision to add an ESG fund to the 13 self-select funds on offer and also to include an ESG-focused fund as part of the underlying fund mix making up the default lifestyle strategy. As 70% of members are in the default fund, this means the majority are now investing in an ESG-focused fund.

Clare Sheridan, trustee director of the scheme, says: “Since the survey, the number of hits within the investment section has increased, compared to previous years.

“With climate change and social factors having affected us during the pandemic, we’re finding people are becoming more mindful about where they’re invested and if they can make a change in their day-to-day lives. Our members are not looking for detailed explanations, but they’d still like to know where the money is invested and what difference it could be making. We know ESG and responsible investment is going to be an important factor in engaging with members now and in the future. We are currently looking into expanding engagement with members on responsible investment.”