Research agenda 2024

The Thinking Ahead Institute’s purpose is to mobilise capital for a more sustainable tomorrow. It is our mission to achieve systemic change across the investment industry through innovation that creates long-term value for all our stakeholders. This is particularly true for our members, and we believe joining a study or research working group is one of the best ways to both, derive value and contribute to change. It is also one of the best ways to engage with other Institute members.

As we attempt to look into the future of institutional investment, we would like answers to the following three questions:

  1. Will the trend of consolidation of investment organisations continue, or even strengthen?
  2. Will investment organisations start to shift their mindset in a manner required by embracing systems thinking? and
  3. Could we be at a point of discontinuity, where past data is a less relevant guide to the future?

These questions have influenced our research agenda for 2024

Do you consider your organisation to be a system? Have you ever been trained in systems?

We will offer members a ‘systems curriculum’ featuring external speakers, our own content, and discussion forums. The curriculum will consider the organisation’s and the portfolio’s position within the system, the robustness of the system, and whether the system can be influenced in a risk mitigating direction. Framed in stronger theory; considering organisational design (beliefs, governance, talent, systems); revisiting management (scenarios) and measurement. This lecture series is open to all members, and we encourage participation from everyone.

Target group: All members – suitable for all colleagues in your organisation

Time commitment: 6 x 1.5 hours MS Teams calls, plus pre-reading in April, June, September, October, November and December.

Please contact Tianyi (tianyi.lan@wtwco.com) if you are interested in participating


Related papers:

All investment organisations need to make decisions (in whatever direction) regarding the climate transition.

The working group will explore:

  • Biodiversity (intersection with climate, TNFD)
  • Society (just transition)
  • Circular economy (how to invest?)
  • Adaptation (what to do if insurance cover shrinks?)
  • Mitigation (actions, possibly review NZ pledge)

Target group: All members – sustainability leaders, strategy team 

Time commitment: 5 x 1.5 hours MS Teams calls, plus pre-reading and reviewing in March, May, July, September, and November.

Please contact Anastassia (anastassia.johnson@wtwco.com) if you are interested in joining this working group


Related papers:

Led by Future Fund, this study will seek to identify best practices for DC, DB and SWF asset owners in multiple areas from data and tech, through investing to compensating internal talent appropriately.

The critical issues that will be covered include investment issues (such as total portfolio approaches), people issues (such as decision making under greater uncertainty), and technology issues (such as building out the data platform in the light of AI).

Target group: All members

In-person event: on 20 March in London


Related papers:

The challenge of managing entire portfolios becomes more complex when dealing with multiple portfolios, for example within DC or fiduciary managers. This complexity is evident for internal CIOs of asset owners and for OCIO teams within consultants and managers. This group will consider how to apply the learnings from the AO peer study to a multi-portfolio context.

Target group: AO members – C-suite, trustee chairs, AO senior levels

Time commitment: 4 x 1.5 hours MS Teams calls, plus pre-reading and reviewing in September, October, November, and December.

Please contact Anastassia (anastassia.johnson@wtwco.com) if you are interested in joining this working group


Related papers:

The external environment is changing rapidly and so investment beliefs should be re-examined, particularly for any investor with a long time horizon. The Institute’s 2017 sustainability beliefs survey yielded a peer group of around 600 investment professionals against which members could benchmark their own organisation. We can now advance this survey to include a deeper treatment of climate and systemic risk.

Target group: All members  

Time commitment: 4 x 1.5 hours MS Teams calls, plus pre-reading and reviewing in End-Feb, March, April, May

Please contact Jessica (jessica.gao@wtwco.com) if you are interested in joining this working group


Related paper:

TAI has worked on a variety of human-capital-related topics and produced a number of strategic engagement toolkits that can be applied to member contexts on a mini-project basis. Below is a list of these and you can find more information here

  • Future of work
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • The Power of Teams
  • The Power of Culture 
  • Purpose and vision
  • Right-sizing ESG
  • Horizon scanning
  • Climate risk
  • See more topics for one-to-ones here

Please contact us if you are interested in organising one of these sessions

2024 events
2023 research agenda
Research index
TAI impact and influence 2023

Make the most of your membership:
Strategic 1-2-1s
Workshops