Not so many years ago, one couldn’t believe Italy’s pension funds would be able to promote initiatives in the field of socially responsible investments that you may consider as cutting-edge ones when it comes to my country. They have been told for years they were so far from their European (especially from Uk, France, Northern Europe countries) and international peers (namely from Us, Canada, Australia) in taking into account Esg factors in their investment selection process.
Now something similar is happening, even though we’re probably just at the beginning of a long path.
The biggest pension fund in Italy, Fondo Cometa (€9.6bn AUM, more than 400,00 participants), recently launched a tender for an asset management mandate in which it stated it would assess and select the asset management companies in the run also on the basis of their Esg know-how, with regard to Esg standards and models they integrate in their work. Morevoer, Fondo Cometa stated that another key factor to be considered in its judgement would be whether the asset management companies are signatories of the UnPri or not.
Putting it simply, the message coming from Fondo Cometa for the asset management industry and more generally for the whole Italian financial community is quite clear: from now on, we want you to manage our assets in a sustainable, responsible, ethical way. So, you show what you’re doing and you’re going to do about Esg.
I suppose the questions one could raise at this point are two, and connected: are Italy’s asset management companies ready for fulfilling Fondo Cometa’s requests? And: are some other Italy’s pension funds willing to move in the wake of Fondo Cometa’s first step?
Let’s just wait and see what’s gonna happen. It might be really interesting. Not only for Italy.