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Social Factors Taskforce Issues Guide for Consultation

The UK Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Taskforce on Social Factors (TSF) has issued a consultation on an industry guide that includes 30 recommendations for the UK pensions sector on improving the incorporation of social factors into investment decisions. The guide outlines how pension trustees can better consider and incorporate social factors into their investment and stewardship decision-making, by developing a common understanding and assessment of financially material social risks and opportunities. The guide recommends that pension trustees should ensure their asset managers consider social factors and integrate them into their investment strategy and stewardship. It suggests that asset managers should be able to demonstrate that they have influenced social outcomes through transparent reporting on engagement, voting and investment outcomes, including any social investment metrics. The guide also recommends that the DWP should consider formally setting out expectations on addressing social factors, while the UK Financial Conduct Authority should consider setting out reporting expectations. The consultation is open until 1 December 2023. The objective of the TSF is to assist pension schemes in addressing the risks and seizing the opportunities of the ‘social’ element in ESG investing. The taskforce’s members are comprised of representatives from pensions schemes, asset managers, and cross-industry collaboration groups, including from Aegon, IFM Investors, the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, RailPen and ShareAction. 

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