There is an increasing imperative for transformational change at investment organisations

There is a paradigm shift happening in the industry, brought about by a widening of organisational purpose. Organisations need to adopt a much more agile, substantive and socialised change model than before. Achieving this requires a commitment to think through issues respecting all material systemic factors influencing investment industry outcomes to make deeper and better connections. The associated systemic risks increasingly require investors to consider the impact of their decisions, alongside risk and return. One of the resultant trends is a move towards a total portfolio approach rather than persisting with traditional asset allocation models. This hub also contains research on governance, stewardship and 3D investing, available in comprehensive research papers, short Investment Insight articles, podcasts and videos.

The sustainability transitions at investment firms is being driven by the slow moving but unstoppable ESG train, which is now rapidly picking up pace.

Roger Urwin

Research and further content

Total Portfolio Approach (TPA) content hub

Total portfolio approaches have been evolved as a more ‘joined up’ investment philosophy that results in a more streamlined approach to portfolio construction. This hub is a collection of publications and other content on TPA.

Agenda for change, part II

Successful implementation of any plan will require significant organisational change. Recognising this, we formed a high-powered working group, which adopted a thesis around the paradigm shift that is happening in the investment industry. 

The Power of Culture study

The study explores how culture can be assessed and measured, using Institute methodology, and used by leadership to effect change within their own organisations and support change in the broader investment industry. Specifically around greater purpose, innovation and sustainability, as well as diversity and inclusion.

Investment organisation of tomorrow

This working group was set up to help senior investment leaders move ahead of the paradigm shift occurring in our industry. This will require organisations to adopt much more agile, substantive and socialised change work than has been the prior practice, and enable them to be effective at transformational change.

Research journey

We see progress on sustainability as intrinsically intertwined with organisational development and governance. Our organisations need to be fit for the future. In 2016, following a benchmarking study we wrote Smart Leadership, Sound Followership, which explores the challenges of being an asset owner today and the increasingly complex future as they navigate the “Great Acceleration”. This was followed up with the The asset owner of tomorrow publication, which explored these themes in more depth. Thereafter we produced The asset manager of tomorrow which identifies six attributes as critical requirements to asset manager success.

Research image


Defined contribution

Focus on: Asset allocation

Most asset owners have kept to a basic benchmark-oriented model in which their boards have ownership of investment policy via a policy portfolio and implement using outside investment managers. But with more complex goals coming from these paradigm changes (like net zero), the shift to an outcome-oriented model is increasingly attractive alongside making increases to internal capability to manage in a more streamlined, sophisticated and – most of all – holistic way. The test of this approach is at the total portfolio level – where every investment contributes to the joint goals of maximising risk-adjusted returns and alignment to net-zero commitments. This total portfolio approach methodology (TPA) has been developed by a number of leading asset owners.

Strategic asset allocation measures a lot of things, but not the most important things.

Roger Urwin

Asset allocation: Total portfolio approach

Duty of Ownership

Investments: Risk, Return and Impact