Defined contribution (DC) scheme members overwhelmingly support making responsible investment the standard policy for pensions investments, but the term ‘ESG’ mostly does not resonate with them, according to a survey carried out by Invesco.According to the asset manager, the survey was part of “the most extensive research ever conducted into the language of pensions” and captured responses from more than 500 UK DC scheme members.The individuals were asked if they would favour part of their pensions automatically going to a company that met a certain ethical standard, with 82% indicating they thought it was a “good idea” and 18% a “bad idea”.More than seven in 10 respondents thought it would be a “good idea” if their scheme included responsible or ethical investment as part of their default fund. Almost half (46%) of those surveyed indicated they would choose a responsible investment option over a fund that included “all types of companies”, even if it meant lower returns.The hypothetical return scenarios that survey participants were presented with were 6% a year for the responsible investment option and 6% for a fund that did not discriminate.If both funds delivered the same historical returns of 6% a year, 60% of respondents said they would rather invest in the responsible option.Survey participants were also asked for their views on how to best label “a fund that seeks to do good in the world while also generating good returns”, with responses showing that the term “ESG” was unpopular. In the survey, ESG was spelled out as “environmental, social and governance investment”, and was chosen by 14% of respondents as their preferred option.The term “responsible investment” was the preferred term for 42% of respondents, and “ethical investment” for 30%.Gary DeMoss, director of Invesco Consulting, said: “The fact that only 14% of respondents prefer the term ‘ESG’ clearly highlights the communication challenge pension [funds] face; this has been amplified by the overuse of industry jargon.“At a time when it is crucial to encourage employees to think about their financial futures, it has never been more important for schemes to carefully consider their engagement strategies to improve conversations.”Positive approachAccording to Invesco, the study also revealed a preference for positive language when being informed about responsible investments.Over three quarters (77%) believed that the best way to talk about a responsible investment was to describe it as a fund that “invests in companies that meet standards for doing environmental and social good”.Slightly less than a quarter (23%) of respondents preferred the term “does not invest in companies that do not meet standards for doing environmental and social good”.In the Netherlands pension funds and academics have been researching scheme members’ views about how their savings are invested. Tilburg University researchers, for example, found that members were willing to sacrifice some return if their pension fund made sustainable investments, and some schemes have made divestments and impact investments after surveying their members. The €500bn Dutch pensions investor APG recently launched a “public-friendly” version of its annual report, which roughly translated is called “Walk with us”. According to APG, the report was cast in an interactive video format, taking viewers on a journey to show them the choices they can make about their pensions. Along the way, said APG, they face a number of “recognisable dilemmas about money, sustainability and the future”. The choices they make determine how the video continues.
What was once a 180-degree role reversal has now come full circle for Dion Bailey. The redshirt junior, who was recruited to USC as a defensive back but converted to linebacker two seasons ago, switched back to his original position last spring after the Trojans changed defensive schemes.Back to the basics · Recruited as a safety out of high school, redshirt junior Dion Bailey feels more comfortable in the backline of USC’s new defense. Bailey led the team with four interceptions last season. – Daily Trojan File PhotoAfter missing all of spring practice while recovering from shoulder surgery, Bailey is set to start as one of the team’s safeties — a more than welcome change.“It’s my more natural position,” Bailey said. “The coaches felt like it was a great time for the move, so I was excited to go back.”Bailey, a product of Lakewood High School in Carson, Calif. was ranked by ESPN as the No. 31 safety in the high school class of 2010.After spending his redshirt season at safety, USC head coach Lane Kiffin approached him about making the switch to linebacker. With more and more Pac-12 teams implementing up-tempo offenses, Kiffin thought adding another speedy ball hawk to the front seven would help cover opposing offenses that frequently use four- or five-receiver sets.Though the reasoning was sound, Bailey wasn’t exactly excited about leaving the spot he had grown so accustomed to playing in high school.“I really just made the best out of [playing] linebacker,” Bailey said. “Just did whatever it takes to help the team.”Though he might not have enjoyed it, he proved to be a prominent defensive force during the two years he started as linebacker.During his redshirt freshman season in 2011, Bailey recorded 81 tackles, tied with Hayes Pullard for most on the team, along with two sacks and two interceptions. For his efforts, he was named the Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.Bailey was again stellar in the 2012 campaign, recording four interceptions and 80 tackles, good for third on the team. But the unit as a whole struggled, surrendering 24.3 points a game en route to a disappointing 7-6 season. Though the team ranked fifth in the nation in sacks, its turnover margin was a subpar minus-two.“If you look at the stats in the past century, the best two teams when it comes down to the end of the year have the best turnover margin,” Bailey said. “It’s all about the ball. Whoever protects the ball and gets the ball out the most wins the game.”Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, a former coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs and most recently the California Golden Bears, replaces Monte Kiffin and has implemented a 5-2 defense in place of the old 4-3 system.The hope is that the increased amount of players on the line of scrimmage will put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks and play into USC’s strengths.Bailey is confident the new system will also play to his personal strengths. Listed at 6-foot and 200 lbs, he has the measurements to play in the NFL but probably lacks the size to make it as a linebacker at the next level.“[Linebacker] was never a position I felt I would play at the next level,” Bailey said. “I’m 200 pounds. I don’t think I could have survived at that position much longer.”Bailey lost some of the weight he had put on to make it as a linebacker, and feels like he has regained the speed he needs to cover the best receivers in the Pac-12. Though his footwork in the defensive backfield is admittedly a bit rusty, the 5-2 scheme calls for more man-to-man coverage, which has made the new system easy for him to pick up.“Coach [Monte] Kiffin’s concepts were more zone [coverage], so it was a lot more keys and reads that every position has to make, and it takes a lot more thought,” Bailey said. “This defense is a lot more simple, so it allows us to play a lot faster.”With last year’s safeties T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling both graduated and in the NFL, Bailey is expected to slide into one of the starting spots, with freshman Su’a Cravens, redshirt junior Josh Shaw and senior Demetrius Wright all in the discussion to start alongside him.From the 5-2, one of the two safeties will frequently come up and play alongside the two linebackers, making the hybrid spot perfect for Bailey.“The safety position fits him well in this defense,” junior linebacker Lamar Dawson said. “He comes down in the box just like a linebacker, he’s just doing a lot more coverage.”Bailey’s experience at linebacker has expanded his skill set, which should help him both this season and with his future draft stock.“Getting physical, fighting off blocks, all that stuff I learned over the past two years at linebacker definitely will help me in the secondary,” Bailey said.Though shoulder surgery brought Bailey back to feeling 100 percent physically, it did cost him a lot of practice time in the spring and Pendergast believes Bailey needs a little more time before he’s in game shape.“He really missed the reps in the spring, so that shows up,” Pendergast said. “The more he’s in a natural position to play there, the more he’ll improve.”And Pendergast is convinced the defensive stalwart will be ready in time for the season opener against Hawaii on Aug. 29.“He’s continuing to work at it and just has got to continue to get reps,” Pendergast said. “It’s a lot different being that far back off the ball and seeing the whole field, but he’s working at it diligently, and he’ll continue to make progress.”Follow Luke Holthouse on Twitter @BirdsOnBats94
Share Submit Share BGC: Government must ‘act fast’ and extend furlough scheme August 11, 2020 Related Articles John Williamson to oversee UK Tote Group’s international growth August 28, 2020 StumbleUpon John O’Reilly – Erratic orders have placed UK casinos on life support August 4, 2020 Industry strategic consultancy Regulus Partners kick starts the week by assessing the potential impacts of the UK General Election (12 December) on betting incumbents and stakeholders. UK: First thoughts on UK’s Snap General Election Rules, it seems, are there to be broken. Despite the passing of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 (which sought to establish General Elections on a regular five-year basis), the country will go to the polls next month for the third time in a little over four years (four times if one includes the EU referendum and five times if one lives in Scotland). It is far from clear that this cycle of political upheaval is contributing positively to the effective government of the United Kingdom – and the latest round poses a number of clear threats to gambling operators.The most significant potential consequence of the December 12th poll is that it will lead to a radical overhaul of Britain’s gambling laws. Under its Deputy Leader, Tom Watson (Lab, West Bromwich East), the Labour Party has pledged that it will bring in new primary legislation to replace the Gambling Act 2005 (which Watson has described as “not fit for purpose”) – something that the Liberal Democrats appear to support. This may not in itself be a bad thing for the gambling consumer (and by association the industry’s progressive majority); indeed, it may be the best chance for a coherent resolution of the numerous issues that beset gambling companies in Britain today.However, for this to occur, it seems imperative that Watson – who has approached the subject of regulatory reform with admirable consideration and balance – remains in place. Against the backdrop of a febrile and thoroughly dishonest public policy debate, it is easy to see how Watson’s moderation could otherwise be jettisoned in favour of a more radical agenda.It is likely that – personal political preferences aside – many in the industry will be hoping for a Conservative victory. Boris Johnson probably spends very little time thinking about gambling (at least in the context of the regulated industry) – but when he does it is probably in fairly sympathetic terms. As someone who seems happy to be characterised by habitual displays of eccentricity, it seems unlikely that the Prime Minister has much truck with those who wish to impose their moral judgements on the lives of fellow citizens. However, there are those close to him – particularly on the more controlling far-right of the party – who seem to adhere closely to a Victorian moral distaste for gambling (particularly where it concerns those outside the elite circles they inhabit). A Conservative Government offers no guarantee of tolerance.Gambling will certainly feature in the Labour Party’s election manifesto (with potentially a more fleshed-out programme of reform than the principles-based structure presented to date) and there seems to be a reasonable chance that both the Liberal Democrats and the SNP may include something on the subject (most likely the imposition of a statutory levy to fund harm prevention and treatment). A number of Conservative MPs appear keen on policies of regulatory restriction – but the Tories at large probably have bigger fish to fry.The election has already precipitated one significant change, with the decision of the Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan (Cons, Loughborough) not to stand for re-election. This is a great shame – both in terms of the loss of such a talented and well-regarded parliamentarian; and because it perpetuates the ministerial instability that is at least partly to blame for the mess that Britain’s gambling market is in. The former gambling minister, Mims Davies (Cons, Eastleigh) will also step down. The bullying and intimidation that precipitated Ms Morgan’s departure is sadly symptomatic of the erosion of tolerance and basic human decency in British politics – something that is often illustrated in the gambling debate (and indeed, whipped up by certain parliamentarians).Further change is bound to follow. It is not at all clear who will replace Ms Morgan if the Conservatives are returned to Government. The current gambling minister, Helen Whately has a healthy 17,000 majority (c61% of the 2017 vote) in Faversham and Mid-Kent but there is no guarantee that she would remain in the post given the propensity for post-election reshuffles. In the event of a Labour (or Lib-Lab) win, Tom Watson will relinquish the Culture, Media and Sport brief (whether or not he remains in post as Deputy Leader) but again, it is not obvious who would take it on. Carolyn Harris (Lab, Swansea East) has the strongest interest in gambling – but her passion for the Women and Equalities role (which she currently shadows) may well trump this. Mrs Harris has a 13,000 majority and – possibly to the dismay of some browbeaten industry executives – has every intention of returning to Parliament after 12th December.The former Liberal Democrat gambling spokesperson, John Leech may stand for the Manchester Withington seat that he lost in the party’s 2015 meltdown. The constituency voted strongly for ‘remain’ in the 2016 EU referendum – and this could give Mr Leech some encouragement as he seeks to dismantle Labour’s 30,000 majority. If elected, Mr Leech seems likely to resume his interest in gambling policy (and could even be given a role in the event of a coalition).Other notable MPs standing for re-election include Helen Whatley’s neighbour and ministerial predecessor, Tracey Crouch (Cons, Chatham and Aylesford). Ms Crouch has a healthy majority and will be up against anti-FOBT campaigner and Labour candidate, Vince Maple (who took a third of the constituency’s vote in 2017). Amongst the gambling industry’s parliamentary tormentors, the SNP’s Ronnie Cowan has only a wafer-thin parliamentary majority in Inverclyde; and Iain Duncan Smith’s (Cons) Chingford and Woodford Green seat (split almost 50:50 in the EU referendum) was also a fairly close call in 2017.One of the legislative victims of the General Election is the Private Members Bill to ban gambling on credit cards as well as the siting of automated telling machines (‘ATMs’) in casinos, bingo clubs and amusement arcades. The bill, which had its first reading just two weeks ago is now a non-runner and the Bishop of St Albans who sponsored it will need to return to the lottery of the ballot in the next parliament. It seems likely that the Gambling Commission will resolve the credit card element anyway – either by prohibiting or severely restricting credit card use in online gambling.The proposed ATM ban (that seeks the removal of cash machines from inside and outside gambling premises) is grounded in legitimate concerns about ease of access to renewed funds for gambling. However, in seeking to prohibit ATMs entirely (rather than adding protective measures), it adopts a patronising attitude to the ability of grown-ups to make spending choices and more seriously may pose a risk to consumer safety (for instance, by forcing bingo club customers to venture out at night-time to distant cashpoints if they find themselves short of funds).The House of Lords select committee inquiry will be interrupted by the General Election (with one more session taking place prior to parliamentary dissolution) but it will return – presumably in the New Year. This latest hiatus may push back further the deadline for publication of its final report (initially scheduled for March 2020 and currently slated for May).It is understood that Carolyn Harris’s Gambling-related Harm All-Party Parliamentary Group is likely to publish its report on online gambling in the next few days – notwithstanding the shelving of its final hearing, with the DCMS and the Gambling Commission. The group will return in the New Year, although where its attention turns next is unclear.It is hard to tell how much regulatory policy will feature in the forthcoming pitch for the nation’s votes – however, given that gambling is increasingly being used as a battleground for broader ideological campaigns (inequality, freedom, deprivation, diversity etc), the general rising of the political temperature is probably not a good thing. As Germany’s ‘Iron Chancellor’, Otto von Bismarck is reputed to have said: “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.UK: Safer gambling – GamCare branches out…The best ideas are often the simplest. NatWest announced this week that it would team up with GamCare (the principal provider of gambling harm treatment and support services in Britain) to offer support for those experiencing problems in relation to gambling. Sensibly, the initiative is starting as a pilot across 13 branches (as intelligent as the idea seems, there is always the chance of unintended consequences) and if it works, it could be rolled out across 700 sites in the United Kingdom.It represents a further success in involving the broader supply chain in the campaign to address harm and follows the development of account blocking for gambling transactions developed by Starling, Monzo, Barclays and Lloyds TSB.Amidst all the politicking, lobbying and publicity-seeking around gambling policy, GamCare has simply put its head down and focused on what it can do to reduce harm. It is an example from which others from all sides of the debate may draw inspiration._________________Content provided by Regulus Partners