Retirement savers want more ESG information, research

Writes Hope William-Smith

More than 80% of consumers want to know more about which companies their pensions are invested in and more transparent updates on their business activities, according to PensionBee.

Research from the online pension provider said there is an emerging consensus among UK savers on the need for better information around ESG investing was clear.

The survey questioned 2,000 customers in its largest fund, an auto-pick option equivalent to a mainstream workplace default pension scheme.

Head of corporate development Clare Reilly said it remains “critical to address the gulf between the views of modern savers and the pension options on offer” and that pension savers “should benefit financially and socially” from their investments.

More than half of respondents across all age groups said they would prefer to balance making money in their pot with creating “positive social outcomes” and a further 16% also confirmed they would advocate for “entirely removing” companies that prioritise profit over that.

Investment in oil companies and banned weapons production were deemed particularly unfavourable with the surveyed savers, with 63% and 61% respectively backing an entire removal of those funds from portfolios.

PensionBee said younger savers and women were most likely to take decisive action on transparent investment and favour the outright removal of investment in companies that break international laws and do not support favourable ESG consideration.

Reilly said the findings showed savers “do not want government reforms for environmental and social concerns to be reflected in pensions to become just a tick-box exercise”.

PensionBee’s research comes after 87% of respondents to an October Aon survey said responsible investing had become highly important in their organisation. The same research found an increasing number UK investors had non-financial motivations for ESG investment which included better social outcomes.