At Wiltshire Pension Fund, we embed responsible ownership into everything we do. We understand that diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords, but serve as integral values that drive progress and prosperity.
Diversity is the representation of a range of traits and experiences in a company's workforce.
Inclusion is about individuals feeling welcome, safe, and valued. A Workforce may be diverse but if not inclusive the company will not perform to its highest potential.
The Fund regards EDI as an important ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factor, a stewardship priority, and an area where investment managers should focus their voting and engagement efforts. Several pieces of research have shown that diverse boards lead to better financial outcomes (for example, this publication by the FRC). Consideration of EDI has also been embedded at an operational level within the Fund, and has been highlighted as an important area in the running of pension funds by the Pensions Regulator.
Creating an Inclusive Workplace
EDI has also been acknowledged as a priority by our Committee and Local Pension Board, and both these groups have committed to receiving dedicated training on this topic later this year.
In practice and as part of our commitment to transparency, responsible investment, and meeting the evolving needs of our members, we initiated the "Wiltshire Pension Fund Youth Engagement initiative". We recently engaged with our younger members (aged <30) to better understand their expectations, preferences, and priorities regarding their pensions and how it is invested, whilst identifying how to best keep them informed of their benefits. This initiative was derived with inclusivity in mind, aiming to bridge the generational gap, improve our services, and align our communications with the values and concerns of the younger generation.
Visit Engaging with our younger members to view the results.
We recently engaged with one of our managers on this topic asking how they were applying these principles in a practical way, within the challenging area of emerging markets, read what they had to say in the section below.
We will maintain an ongoing dialogue with our investment managers to gain a clear understanding of how they incorporate the 'S' (social) aspect of ESG criteria. This will help us ensure genuine inclusivity and a strong commitment to diversity and equality, both in the workplace and in their investment decision-making processes.