First Ever ESG Conference for Israeli Institutional Investors
Social Finance Israel and Greeneye hosted Israel´s first ever ESG Conference for institutional investors in Israel on March 18th, 2018. The event was planned as an effort to bring greater clarity to the memorandum issued in December by the Commissioner of Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings, which compels institutional investors to publish their ESG and impact investment policies.
Senior representatives of Israel´s leading financial institutions attended, including commercial banks, insurance companies and investment firms, to gain a better understanding of how to comply with the memorandum and hear first-hand from peers already implementing effective ESG and impact investment strategies.
Dorit Salinger, the Commissioner of Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings, explained that the aim of the memorandum is not to require, but rather to encourage financial institutions to adopt investment strategies that feature ESG and impact investment strategies. Sir Ronald Cohen, co-founder of Apax Partners, Chairman of Social Finance and a central figure in the promotion and development of impact investing around the world, spoke about significant developments in the industry. In his words, "Pensioners increasingly choose to invest in Impact, 10bn Euros have flowed into these funds so far, for example in France. The biggest pension fund in the world, the Japanese Public Employees Pension Fund, are now moving to align their investment strategy with ESG. You will begin to see it everywhere, among members of the G8, the G20.”
Tim Macready, CIO of Australian pension fund Christian Super, presented Christian Super´s investment framework and performance data. According to Macready, the entirety of the fund is managed in line with ESG considerations. More recently, Christian Super made a series of impact investments, leading the curve on the growing trend worldwide. Macready also shared Christian Super´s experience in evaluating and investing in Social Impact Bonds, which have yielded considerable financial returns and measurable social impact.
The conference also featured other industry leaders who shared their insights on the potential implications of this memorandum on Israel´s impact investment market. Yaron Neudorfer, CEO of Social Finance Israel, presented the findings of a public survey conducted in the months prior, which showed that savers in Israel show substantial interest in understanding how and where their savings are invested. Interestingly, 61% percent of survey respondents would move savings to pension funds that invest responsibly. Noga Levzion-Nadan CEO of Greeneye, the conference´s co-host, also presented examples of ESG investment metrics and parameters adopted by leading institutions. Closing out the conference, a diverse panel of speakers presented concrete examples of socially responsible and impact investments, offering thoughts on how to expand the ESG and impact investment market in Israel.