Jason Mitchell of Man Group - A Sea Change In Responsible Investing

Jul 12, 11:00 AM
Jason Mitchell is Co-Head of Responsible Investment for Man Group plc. He is responsible for directing the development of impact, thematic and norms-based investment strategies as well as the broader integration of ESG criteria across asset classes and multi-asset solutions. Jason also acts as advisor on funds where ESG, impact investing, engagement and norms-based screening represent a principal feature of the strategy. He co-chairs Man Group’s Stewardship & Active Ownership Committee. He speaks and writes widely on social and environmental issues, most recently in the FT and London Review of Books.

He also hosts ‘A Sustainable Future’, an award-winning podcast about what we’re doing today to build a more sustainable world tomorrow. The podcast profiles organizations, leaders and academics who are examining all facets of sustainability, from climate change and migration to governance and global norms. The podcast provides an open, educational resource to anyone interested in exploring approaches to sustainable, responsible investing.

  • Jason works on better management of ESG at a portfolio level. What happens to ESG when elevating from a typical single issuer or single security measures to portfolio allocation of capital.
  • “We actually think that cultivating different types of approaches is actually a huge positive for us because when you think about all these businesses ... as individuals streets or lanes all meeting at one intersection that  ... kind of feels like Piccadilly square, it's just noisy loud. And at that intersection when it comes to this space you find differing, sometimes conflicting expectations, approaches and implementations of, let's say ESG. My point is that the intersection is an incredibly powerful way to understand what we want to build.”
  • What are we solving for? What is the end game? ... The bigger end game is always how are you better at understanding the risk ... and how ultimately you can elevate this up to asset allocation strategies.
  • When we think about long term versus short term time horizons or preference around ownership periods, there is also materiality concerns.
  • The big innovation has to be data oriented.
  • “It's been a complete sea change over the last 12 to 24 months, reflected in RFPs - requests for proposals - where clients are asking for information in a way that they haven't before.”
  • There is a clear leadership effect with the biggest pension funds on the Top 50 leading the way and influencing the rest.
  • The analogy to showing an example of one sustainable investment in a presentation to clients to when “Charlie Chaplin entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest…. Its sort of an empty anecdote because it doesn’t reveal its context.”
  • “One of the best things that I've done and most gratifying things I would say, is producing a chapter for CFA ESG investing certificate, it's chapter eight on portfolio construction and management.”
  • The conversation with CEO of Banco Sabadell asset management in Barcelona sharing why climate action is important
  • Understanding Jason’s personal arc and why he entered into this space. 
  • Importance of being curious is whichever context you choose to pursue.
  • Why you need to ask questions, and not be afraid.

Time Stamp:
[3.56] What is responsible investing
[6:00] Jason’s career path, personal arc and pivotal points
[9:50] About Man Group plc.
[15:00] We don’t want a unified approach to ESG
[17:00] What are we solving for?
[20:00] ESG measures, modelling for long term and managing materiality and risks
[24:00] Data, Data collection and use of AI, machine learning and NLP
[32:00] Impact: balance between intentionality and measurability
[36:00] A sea change in interest in ESG and impact
[42:00] Race to zero emissions to the COVID-19 pandemic 
[43:30] Fund Managers vs Allocators - Asking the right questions and presenting relevant information
[45:00] The anecdote/analogy: Charlie Chaplin entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest
[47:00] ESG is a number, it’s not risk - Bob Litterman Episode
[49:30] Long term risks and scenario analysis 
[51:30] The Importance of education - Podcasts and CFA 
[53:00] Opportunities to transition more capital to sustainable and responsible investment
[57:00] What drives Jason Mitchell 
[61:00] What makes an Impact Leader
[67:00] Stay curious 

Useful links:
About Jason Mitchell  and his Linkedin Profile 
MAN group plc website  
MAN group Responsible Investment Framework 
A Sustainable Future’ Podcast 
PRI https://www.unpri.org/
ITC International Trade Union Confederation 
Ben Yeoh - Episode of Impact Leaders : “50 Shades Of Green”
Banco de Sabadell SA - Jaime Guardiola Romojaro, CEO.

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