Travers Smith's team, led by Partner and Head of Derivatives & Structured Products, Jonathan Gilmour, has co-authored the Impact Investing Institute's recent paper "Impact investing by pensions funds: Fiduciary duty – the legal context". The work by the Travers Smith team was conducted pro bono, having been appointed last year to the Impact Investing Institute's inaugural legal panel for pro bono projects.
Last week, the Impact Investing Institute launched the paper alongside an ‘explainer video’ and its Four Guiding Principles for Pension Schemes, which were developed via extensive consultation with the pensions industry and provide an accessible, practical insight into the opportunity presented by impact investing and the concrete steps pension schemes and their advisers can take to pursue an impact investing strategy.
The paper, which has been co-authored by Travers Smith, alongside representatives from Sackers, Bates Wells, Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright, explains how fiduciary duty and impact investing are compatible, focusing on trust-based occupational pensions schemes and the duties of trustees when making investment decisions, including both those set out in statute and the pension fund’s trust deed and rules.
As well as contributing to the paper, the Travers Smith team also led the consultation with key pensions stakeholders including the Department for Work and Pensions and the Association of Pension Lawyers. On 18 November, Jonathan Gilmour presented the paper at the prestigious Investing with Impact Summit and led a roundtable with conference attendees to discuss the paper's analysis and conclusions.
Alongside Jonathan Gilmour, the Travers Smith team also included Pensions Partners Susie Daykin and Andy Lewis, Derivatives & Structured Products Associate Mike Fallow and Trainee Haroon Zaman.
Since its launch, the paper has been well-received by the pensions sector and was commended by Mark Carney at the Impact Investing Institute's recent anniversary event.
Commenting on the paper, Travers Smith's Head of Derivatives & Structured Products, Jonathan Gilmour, said: "Our contribution to this paper has been very rewarding, as it has served positively to progress the thinking of the pensions sector towards impact investing, whilst ensuring the analysis is grounded in legal principle. Our work with the Impact Investing Institute and its other panel firms to produce the paper is testament both to our expertise in pensions investment matters and our commitment to pro bono activities in the pursuit of sustainable business activities."