TAI’s hopes for 2022

Happy New Year to all of our members. Below the Thinking Ahead team share their hopes for the industry this year. You might also be interested to read Roger’s related post on Top1000Funds.

“For the asset owner of the future to manage the transformational changes ahead, they’ll need shifts in convention, collaboration and culture.

In 2022, asset owners must continue to manage changes to their circumstances, particularly relating to sustainability, the prevailing investment macro and governance. 3D investing and impact are key, with universal ownership theory and the rise of systemic risk central to this new model.

We need a big shift in priorities in the fields of active ownership, engagement with asset managers and with sustainability NGOs like PRI. This will require investment organisations to lead with strong backs and soft fronts.”

Roger Urwin, Co-founder of the Thinking Ahead Institute

“My ‘one thing’ I’d like to see in 2022? Our whole industry working with wholeheartedness. I wrote an article last year suggesting we add a ‘love algorithm’ to our investment thinking, and I would like to see that pushed harder. The idea of wholeheartedness comes from (professor) BrenĂ© Brown who states that it means cultivating courage, compassion and connection. Her 3-c’s chime beautifully with two of our own 3-c’s, namely collaboration and culture.

And because I know you never expected me to stick to ‘one thing’ I will also mention that I am excited about the prospect of changing conventions (our third ‘c’). This will start in 2022 with deep discussions about climate beliefs and those, over time, will lead us to think more deeply about circularity, nature, sustainability and the purpose of economies.

My final comment is to echo one of Roger’s ideas, and suggest we should listen much more carefully to NGOs. He singles out PRI and I would like to suggest Greenpeace.”

Tim Hodgson, Co-head of the Thinking Ahead Institute

“My hope is that in 2022 leaders of leading investment organisations will become: more conversant with the power of organisational culture (to supercharge organisations and transform the industry); more confident to tap into its superpower; and (as a result) more capable when leading superteams in a new era of work.”

Paul Deane-Williams, Director, Thinking Ahead Institute

“It is easy to be pessimistic when I think about the future. Indeed, this feeling is shared by around 84% of global leaders in the World Economic Forum’s latest global risk report. We continue to live in a world where we are most greatly divided by the haves and have nots. Vaccine inequality and the resultant uneven economic recovery between the developed and developing world is a stark example of this. And as the world enters the third year of the pandemic, climate change and rising social tensions continue to widen already deeply intrenched divergences.

But I find hope in the words of the late Nobel peace prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who reminds us: ‘my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together’.

My hope for 2022 is that we become more conscientious and use this to create greater cohesion in our broken world. We also need greater clarity in how we frame and make decisions to truly have an impact. This must be underpinned by principled beliefs, where we actively seek out diverse perspectives, build deeper cultures and have stronger governance.”

Marisa Hall, Co-head of the Thinking Ahead Institute

“Clarity, conviction and courage – these are my three C’s for what I hope to see from the investments industry in 2022.

Clarity in asset owners’ climate strategies, actions and communication. Clarity is the answer to complexity brought on by the transition to net zero. We are in a climate emergency – there is no room for overclaiming, greenwashing and complacency.

Conviction – actions which aren’t guided by a robust set of climate beliefs are bound to fail. Asset owners face increasingly tough decisions as they transition to net-zero. These beliefs will be their solid foundation.

Courage to rise to the challenge. Courage to question the status quo and jettison outdated thinking. Courage to speak the truth. Courage to do what is right for the planet, even if it means short-term pain.

This is the decisive decade to tackle climate change. The urgency cannot be overstated. 2022 is the year which will determine the fate of this decade, and ultimately this planet. The time is now.”

Samar Khanna, Associate director | Research, Thinking Ahead Institute