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March 24, 2022

Culture and Capability: An Asset Owner’s Guide to Net Zero

Hear from Alan Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, about the culture and capabilities that asset owners look for in the companies they invest in.


Asset owners have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their ultimate beneficiaries, which often forces them to take a longer-term perspective than many other types of financial firms. So, it’s not surprising that many of them are concerned about the systemic nature of climate risks. Many are proactively engaging with firms in the real economy to encourage the right culture and capabilities to steer their companies to net zero. 


In this episode we talk about some of the key dilemmas currently facing asset owners:

  • How should they assess firms’ commitments to net zero and their underlying purpose and values?
  • How should they decide when and how to engage with firms?
  • And when is it best to divest?


Links from today’s discussion:


Speaker’s Bio

Alan Smith – First Church Estates Commissioner, Church of England

Alan Smith’s career spans 35 years in risk management, finance, investment banking and advisory roles at HSBC and KPMG. He held various positions at HSBC, including Global Head of Risk Strategy, and helped shape the bank’s global approach to sustainability and climate risk management.


He was recently appointed First Church Estates Commissioner – an appointment that is approved by the Queen herself. In this role, he chairs the Church Commissioners' Assets Committee, which is responsible for the strategic management of a £9.2 billion investment portfolio.

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