Programme List - Investment Conference 2019


*Please note this programme is subject to change 

08:45 – 09:30

Delegate registration and networking

With refreshments

09:30 – 09:35

Chair’s welcome and opening remarks


09:35 – 10:00

Opening Keynote: Do we dare mention the B word?


10:05 – 10:30

How does a bulk annuity provider invest?

Last year was a record one for bulk-annuity deals, with nearly £20bn of transactions announced by 2018's close. Access to high-yielding income generating assets is crucial for insurers' ability to price bulk annuity deals attractively, with this in mind how can schemes mirror their investment strategy to demonstrate an ease of doing business. This session will analyse how a bulk annuity provider invests and what pension schemes can learn or adopt.


10:35– 11:00

Private credit – a new opportunity for institutional investors?

Opportunities for investing in private credit have expanded dramatically in the last ten years due to increased regulation stripping the market share away from banks. This is providing investors who are able to sacrifice some liquidity with access to higher yields, an improved risk profile and exposure to less correlated economic drivers. This session will consider:

  • Private vs public?
  • Breaking down silos
  • Creating an integrated approach

11:00 – 11:30

Morning networking break

With refreshments

11:30 - 11:55

Are you mitigating downside risk?

The UK economy has made little progress over the past couple of years, and as Brexit negotiations rumble on, more muted investment returns are expected going forward than in 2018. Low-volatility strategies have shown the ability to mitigate more of the downside in falling markets than they have lagged on the upside in rising markets and overall, low-volatility equities have historically performed better during periods of market stress. Pension schemes are facing a host of obstacles, including extreme volatility in many segments of the market, the changing demographics of their members and unprecedented geopolitical change. This session will examine how a well implemented, low-volatility portfolio may fit into DB and DC plans to help maintain a higher level of exposure to equities and therefore a higher return potential.

12:00 – 12:25

Shining the light on infrastructure

Since infrastructure became accessible to private investors, its popularity has grown almost exponentially. Last year, global fundraising for privately owned or ‘unlisted’ infrastructure projects reached a new record level $85 billion in 2018.

EDF is currently in the process of financing their latest nuclear development, Sizewell C. This session will cover their new project and why strategic investment from pension funds could be crucial to not only the completing the project, but UK energy and infrastructure security more broadly.


12:30 – 13:30

Networking buffet lunch

13:30 – 14:10

Afternoon keynote panel: TBC

14:10 – 14:35

Taking a responsible approach

A consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “clarifying and strengthening trustees’ investment duties” proposed a rewording of current rules for occupational pension schemes to make it clear that trustees should consider financially material ESG matters.

There has already been rapid change in the realm of responsible investing (RI) with pension schemes developing full-scale RI policies, implementation of RI initiatives and a significant change in how investors and asset managers incorporate and evaluate RI data into their investment strategies. However, staying ahead of the curve in this quickly evolving environment can be particularly problematic as in most cases these strategies require significant buy-in from key stakeholders. This session will evaluate regulatory catalysts in RI and the risks and rewards associated with responsible investment.

14:40 – 15:05

Has LDI reached its peak?

Liability-driven investment (LDI) has become one of the biggest investment trends for defined benefit pension funds. Emerging around two decades ago as a specific strategy to hedge liabilities, it has continued to grow year-on-year. Hedging activity continues to be biased towards leveraged gilt hedging strategies rather than swaps. All-in-all, 49% of the UK's private sector DB liabilities have now been hedged, based on a £1.9trn liability figure on a gilts plus 0.5% basis using data from the Pension Protection Fund's 2017 Purple Book. This session will consider whether the market has almost reached 'peak LDI'. And if it has, what does that mean for pension schemes?

15:05 – 15:10

Chair’s closing remarks and close of conference