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FINTECHESG


Howtech-fuelled transparency canhelp shinealightonESG


ESG WRITTENBY YURIBENDER


Start-up Tumelo, which allows pension scheme members to see how their pots are being invested, is now taking aimat the private banking industry


H


avingformeda start-upanalysing portfolios of investors inworkplacepensions forenvironmental,


socialandgovernance(ESG) criteria, digital entrepreneurGeorgiaStewart iskeento spreadthewordtothewider investmentcommunity, including privatebanksandfamilyoffices. MsStewart’s introductionto


ESGinvestingcameasastudent at CambridgeUniversity,whereshe joinedagroupcampaigningfora moresustainableapproachto the university’s£6bn($8.2bn)endowment fund.For threeyears, together withfellow activists fromPositive InvestmentCambridge,MsStewart spentnights scouringinvestment portfolios forevidenceof positionsin fossil fuelandtobaccostocks. “Wewantedtoencouragethe


university tounderstandwhereits endowmentwas invested,what fundsweheldandwhichstocksare withinthosefunds,sothatwecould bemorepro-activeshareholders,”


sherecalls.AsaNaturalSciences student,shewasappalled that the university’s investmentmanagers couldtheoreticallyvoteagainst climate changeresolutions. Forthe firstyear,MsStewart felt


outofherdepth, surroundedbyPhD studentsconductingresearchon intricacies ofportfolio structuring. Butaftersummerinternships with sustainable investmentteamsatfund managers LiontrustandJupiter,she graduallybuiltupherowncredentials, spottinggaps in theESGmarket. “WhenIwas at Jupiter,people


wouldemail, asking:‘Whyareyou investedinWholeFoods,whenthey sellunsustainablebeefburgers?’Those questionsshowedusunderlying investors areinterestedinwhich companiestheirfundmanagers are investedinandwhattheyaredoing aboutsustainability issues.” Shealso noticedalackof


digitalisationanddisconnect betweenfundmanagersandclients. “Assetmanagers areoperatingvery separatelytomostof their clients,”she notes.“Whileourcompanyisbasedon userfeedback, that isnothappeningso muchin theassetmanagementspace.” Followingacampaignuniting


chief investment officers of thelargest universityendowmentstoputpressure onUSoil giants aroundpreventing climatechange,andafinal-year E-Tech


modulefocusedon“startingupa sustainablebusiness”, atthe Judge BusinessSchool,MsStewart felt ready to takethe plunge. Now,asCEOofTumelo,she


works closelywithLegal&General InvestmentManagement(LGIM)on ethical stewardship.“Ourtechnology connectswiththeir platform,giving schememembersaccess through Tumelo,allowingthemtoseewhich companiestheyhaveinside their pensionpot,”shesays. This gives investorsawindowon


howLGIMisvotingonkeyissues like climatechangeandgender.Pension schememembers areshownthe argumentsforandagainstatypical companyshareholders’voteonethical issuesandaskedtheir opinionsabout whichpositionLGIMshouldtake.The opinionsarethenfilteredthroughto the stewardship team. Tumelois also lookingtobecome


moreengagedwiththe privatebanking community,whereanewgeneration of potential clients isseenasanattractive target.“Wearehavingconversations nowabouthowourtoolscanhelp empower highnetworthindividuals andtheiradvisers,”shesays.“Wewant to createmoretransparencyintowhere theirmoneyisgoingandgivethema strongervoiceonthese issues.People withalargeramountof assets also havealargerimpact.” Sofar,shehasdetectedareluctance


Wearehaving conversations nowabout howour tools can helpempower high net worth individuals and their advisers


GEORGIASTEWART TUMELO 32


amongprivatebankstoengagewith start-ups,but believesthis willsoon change,withCovidprovidinga catalyst foramoredigitalapproach. “Thelargeinsuranceproviders


andpensionsweworkwithhave beenreallysupportive,butwehaven’t hadthatmuchinteractionyetwith the privatebankingspace,whichis somethingwewant to focus on.There isalackof digitalisation there,andwe wouldliketobeoneofthecompanies thatcanchangethat.”


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