Responsible Investing Podcast: The different roles of asset managers and pension funds

Published on: 27 March 2024

In a three-piece podcast series, experts from APG Asset Management together with external guests uncover and discuss some of the most important topics that are shaping the world of resposible investing. In this second episode, host Shahzad Memon (Portfolio Manager Responsible Investment Fixed Income at APG) discusses the different roles of asset managers and pension funds in the realm of sustainable finance with Willem Schramade (Professor of Finance at Nyenrode Business University and Head of Sustainability Client Advisory at Schroders) and Matilde Segarra (CEO APG Asset Management US).

The EU Commission, with its Green Deal and the regulation that followed, has inspired policymakers and investors around the world, and forced practitioners to think about sustainable finance, Segarra states in the podcast. “Any long-term investment fund was already thinking about future generations, but through the EU regulation, we are all forced to give it more specific thought and think about how we are going to measure and report on these kinds of issues.” Even though the US has a completely different political landscape and culture than Europe, that doesn’t mean globally operating US asset managers haven’t taken note of the developments in ESG regulation, according to Segarra. In his role as Head of Sustainability Client Advisory at Schroders, Schramade noticed last year that the difference is mostly between advanced clients and less advanced clients, instead of between European and American clients.


“In recent years, we are becoming more and more aware that there is indeed a difference between asset owners and asset managers”, says Segarra. “The asset owners need to decide for themselves what they want, and they they need to find the asset manager that can implement their requirements. Over the last years, we have started changing the way we work and communicate with one another. The different roles of asset managers and asset owners enhance the overall governance, so it’s a good thing.” Innovation in sustainable finance depends on the cooperation between asset owners and asset manager, adds Schramade. “It’s great when an asset owner has certain ambitions, but if it cannot find an asset manager that can build the required portfolio, the experiment is still a failure.”

Listen to the entire podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.