Panel: Trump won’t dampen ESG priorities

LPs’ focus on responsible investment won’t be disrupted by the new administration.

The election of Donald Trump won’t detract from fund managers’ responsible investment commitments, according to industry insiders.

“For me it comes back to simple risk management. I don’t think Trump’s presidency will disrupt US fund managers’ compliance with ESG principles,” said James Holley, UK head of ESG at KPMG, a professional services firm. “Particularly as there can be financial consequences for not doing so.”

Holley was participating in a webinar on the subject of ESG hosted by private equity software business Navatar.

Blaise Duault, compliance head at PAI Partners, agreed with Holley. He emphasised that LPs’ insistence on ESG standards being embedded into fund managers’ considerations and in portfolio companies’ priorities, was unlikely to be swayed by the change in administration.

“It is important for us that our portfolio companies have strong commitments to ESG, in stance, but also be consistent with executing what they’ve committed to do,” said Duault. “ESG problems were not as obvious in the beginning. We ignored it because the nature of our work is confidentiality driven,” he added.

Marta Jankovic, head of ESG at APG Asset Management, a €436 billion Dutch pension fund, pointed out that Trump’s controversial stance on many social and environmental issues will spotlight standards on these topics, placing additional pressure on fund managers to prioritise responsible investment.