Productive finance: old wine in new bottles?

Mon 18 Mar 2024 -
10:00 - 11:15

Asset owners are being encouraged to consider greater allocations to so-called ‘productive finance’.

But is there consensus on what we mean by productive finance and does it matter? How will these investments be funded given significant pension and insurance gilt and corporate bond holdings to hedge liabilities as well as regulatory and capital constraints?

Our panellists, which include signatories of the Mansion House Compact, share their birds-eye view of the unfolding debate and discuss the key considerations for asset owners.

Featured Speakers

Shalin Bhagwan is Chief Actuary and Interim Chief Financial Officer of the Pension Protection Fund. He is also a member of the FRC’s advisory panel.

His career experience spans investments, insurance, and pensions with a focus on the de-risking of defined benefit pension funds. He started his career at a BPA insurer and large DC master trust in South Africa. He then moved into investment advisory and management in the early 2000s.

Shalin’s asset management experience includes the management of liability-driven investment strategies for pension funds and Solvency II insurers across fixed income, derivatives, as well as listed and private debt. He has managed these strategies for asset owners in the UK, USA, and South Africa.

He has also supported recent initiatives in the UK to bring about changes in UK pension scheme voting implementation. Prior to the PPF, he worked for DWS, Legal & General Investment Management, Mercer, Aon, FirstRand, and Sanlam.

Shalin is a Fellow of the IFoA and holds an Honours Degree in Statistics and Actuarial Science from the University of Cape Town.

Mike is the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for Phoenix Group. It is the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement provider with over £270 billion of assets under administration, on behalf of over 13 million customers. In his role, Mike is a member of the group executive committee, reporting into the group CEO Andy Briggs.

Mike is responsible for leading all the investment functions within the Phoenix Group, but with particular focus on:

  • illiquid asset origination for Phoenix bulk purchase annuity business
  • developing a leading capability for sustainable investments
  • developing a best in class investment operating framework

Mike has 8 direct reports, with over 150 professionals making up Phoenix asset management.

Prior to joining Phoenix in July 2020, Mike was the group CIO of ReAssure (which was acquired by Phoenix Group in July 2020), a consolidator of UK life and pensions companies. At ReAssure Mike was a member of the group executive committee and was charged with developing the investment strategy in preparation for the planned IPO and acquisition of insurance companies.

Prior to joining ReAssure in May 2019, Mike was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, where he spent over 14 years undertaking a variety of client facing roles, including M&A and running UK fixed income. He was also responsible for Goldman Sachs pension and insurance business across EMEA. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mike qualified as an actuary with EY.

Outside of work Mike is married to Anna and has 3 children, living in West London. Mike enjoys all sports, particularly golf, football, and skiing.

Liz is Nest’s CIO, helping to develop its investment proposition and manage its strategic allocation across asset classes.

Prior to joining Nest, Liz was Head of Equities at the Universities Superannuation Scheme and had ExCo responsibility for the responsible investment activities.

Liz started her career as part of the portfolio management team at Lloyds Investment Managers before spending 25 years at USS. She’s also an Investment Advisor to the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme’s investment sub-committee.

Liz holds an MA degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, as well as an ASIP qualification from CFA UK. She has passed CFA’s Investing in ESG Certificate.

Shelley is an Associate Partner in Aon’s investment practice. She joined the firm in 2004 after graduating from Warwick University with a first class MMath degree.

She is based in Aon’s Birmingham office and started her career working within the retirement practice, where she qualified as an actuary, before transferring to the investment practice in 2009. She makes use of her actuarial background in her role within Aon’s funding strategies group. Her focus recently has been on both the forthcoming code of funding practice and the potential impact of Mansion House reforms on defined benefit pension schemes’ long-term strategies.

She spends the majority of her time advising trustees, acting as lead investment advisor for a variety of clients ranging in size from £60 million to £4 billion. She also regularly hosts Aon’s economic and markets outlook webinars.

Joe joined Border to Coast in January 2023 and leads the investment team. He has extensive investment experience, formerly as Managing Director, Head of Portfolio Solutions at Neuberger Berman, where he focused on designing and overseeing multi-asset mandates, engaging with strategic partners, and identifying solutions for clients. He has held several other investment leadership roles, including 10 years at Morgan Stanley where he had several LGPS clients and, before that, managing the internal asset management businesses for Shell and IBM’s pension funds.

Arif Saad, CFA, is Head of Client Advice, responsible for leading how Kempen delivers its investment proposition to clients. This includes designing, developing, and advising on strategic and tactical asset allocation strategies for UK clients. In addition Arif is Head of People, UK.

Prior to joining Kempen in 2020, Arif was a Fiduciary Manager at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), and one of the architects of its fiduciary management offering. Prior to this, Arif was head of the strategic client relationship executive team at LGIM, working with its largest and most sophisticated UK pension funds clients, focusing on risk management and derivative strategies.

Arif began his career within Mercer’s UK investment consulting business, where he advised a portfolio of defined benefit and defined contribution pension schemes, insurance companies, and sovereign wealth funds on the full spectrum of investment issues, including investment strategy, manager and mandate structure, manager selection, transitions, and performance analysis.

Arif graduated from the University of Warwick with a BSc (Hons) in Industrial Economics. He is a CFA Charterholder and in 2021, Financial News named him a Rising Star in Asset Management.