In the first of a regular series, female members of the ESG investment industry detail how they are dealing with the transition to remote working during the coronavirus fallout
Following on from our sister title Portfolio Adviser which has been running the Working from Home series with investment experts from the wider industry, we will be running this article on a weekly basis with women in ESG. Kicking off the first in the series, is ESG Clarity‘s editor Natalie Kenway.
How has the coronavirus affected your day-to-day work?
Massively! I am now school teacher as well as mum, wife, and editor. I work from home regularly so I am used to that, but having the whole family at home in our two-bedroom flat (no garden) AND trying to make sure my daughters do their schoolwork and meet my deadlines is challenging to say the least. But we are healthy, so I am happy. Technology has also meant I have kept in touch with my team every day and with members of the industry almost hassle-free.
What has surprised you most about markets during the coronavirus sell-off?
Like others, the drastic falls but also the bounces that followed. I was also surprised to see the resilience of greener funds and stocks, which I wrote about in the piece Can ESG investing protect investors in a downturn?Coronavirus will undoubtedly have a long-lasting impact in markets, and our lives, and not just through the lessons learned in this torrid time.
What feedback have you had from clients since the coronavirus sell-off?
Readers particularly enjoyed last week’s piece Shining a light on companies helping society move through covid-19 crisis where we spoke to fund managers about companies or sectors that have been stepping up to help fight the spread of the virus. Positive news/analysis pieces are few and far between at the moment so it made a refreshing change for me as a writer and for our audience.
How do you think attitudes to ESG initiatives will be affected as we move through the crisis?
We have had lots of comments coming through highlighting how the virus will remind society the very real risks surrounding climate change, as well as encouraging governments to take more action as the crisis has shown how individuals and businesses are working together in the face of existential threat. It has also reinforced how remote working is a huge benefit to the environment and how investors can learn from a company’s governance in a crisis. All of these issues should make responsible investing even more popular that is has been over the past few years… it really will become mainstream soon.
Share some good news you have heard recently about the holdings/sectors/themes you invest in?
Adapting this question for an editor looking across the investment industry, I would like to respond with the groups that are stepping up. RWC has said it is continuing to pay employees and service providers across its offices in London, Miami and Singapore, even if they were unable to carry out their work. Quilter Foundation donated £100,000 to the National Emergencies Trust COVID-19 appeal launched by HRH Prince William in response to the coranavirus crisis, while Majedie is making a corporate donation equivalent to £1,000 for every member of staff. These moves will have long lasting reputational benefits.
What do you do for fun when you take a break from working at home?
Not really fun but breaks include helping my girls with schoolwork or making one of their endless snacks.
What is your favourite snack when working from home?
Do you have a ‘top tip’ to share on working remotely?
Arrange team drinks! We did this with the LWM editors last Friday afternoon and have arranged it for the entire editorial team this Friday. It gives us all a boost. Also, as we have cancelled our annual Easter trip to Devon I am arranging for the families we normally go with to all participate in a Zoom quiz so we can at least enjoy each other’s company for a few hours.