Culture, climate and ESG on the agenda – Airmic’s FI SIG chair

Published on Wed, 11/08/2021 - 10:43

Jordane Terrasse, chair of Airmic’s Financial Institutions Special Interest Group, is contemplating the post pandemic approach for future meetings after going virtual helped the group become more accessible with a broader spread of members taking part.

Jordane is also Head of Group Corporate Sustainability Risk Management and Risk Transfer at London Stock Exchange Group. She took over as chair a year ago when the switch to digital, due to lockdown, had already begun.

“It’s worked well and doing things virtually has helped by driving people to be more flexible,” she says. “Previously, because we have risk managers and insurance managers geographically scattered, it’s been a struggle to get them to a physical meeting location.”

Numbers attending the FI SIG have gone up overall, from around 12 attendees when physical meetings were possible to an average of around 20 virtual attendees during Covid.

The virtual format has led to some slightly altered meeting demographics, leading to different focuses. “Before you had what you might call ‘the usual suspects’ of regular attendees – chief risk officers and risk managers from banks, asset managers and insurance companies. Now we get a slightly wider population, with more people, for example, focused on sustainability issues in risk management.”

Recent and upcoming topics under discussion have been of broad interest to risk managers focused on sustainability, banking sector and insurance industry professionals.

Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) has risen up the agenda, she explains, with many insurance and risk professionals focused on ESG risks.

“There is a lot more demand for ESG among investors and to remain sustainable and competitive in the future we must listen to what investors want,” she says. “ESG has been interesting because it is a common underlying challenge that has led to some diverse experiences and views being brought to the group.”

A closely related and similarly uniting regulatory topic is the UK’s implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which is progressing from voluntary to mandatory disclosures for the largest financial services firms by January 2022.

“Banks and insurers have been at the forefront of TCFD for several years now because by the nature of their activity they have been put in the spotlight,” she says.

“Financial institutions are concerned about the risks of stranded assets, credit risks and liquidity risks. We’re supporting issuers to become greener, so that investors have more green investment opportunities, while insurers are concerned about entities within their underwriting book of business, such as mining and oil, and industries with carbon-intensive activities,” Jordane adds.

Culture has been an important topic during lockdown, crucial to strong governance, Jordane emphasises.