Where can sustainability take your career?

Where can sustainability take your career?

Jennifer Stott, Head of Finance at Lloyds Banking Group, and member of the IFoA Sustainability Board discusses her longstanding passion for sustainability and advice for integrating sustainability into your actuarial career. 

 

Tell us about your current job role and how you got there?

For the last ten years, I’ve worked for Lloyds Banking Group, where I’m currently carrying out a leadership role in Group Finance with a focus on the structure of the bank’s cost base.

My actuarial career started off in pensions and healthcare consulting then, following an MBA, morphed into commercial and strategic leadership roles firstly at Marks and Spencer Financial Services, then Big Four consulting. 

 

How did you first become interested in or involved with sustainability issues?

Looking back, I’d say my interest in sustainability, the world around us, and communities have been a theme within my career for many years.  At university, I was an active conversation volunteer; repairing footpaths and stiles in remote places and building raised wooden paths to improve disabled access at RSPB reserves being some of the projects I put my hand to over the years. 

Recently I’ve done a course on Sustainable Capitalism and Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) through Berkeley Law School, to increase my awareness and capability to participate in how firms and policymakers think about capital, efficient use of capital, and long term returns in sustainable ways.

 

How do you currently promote/advocate for sustainability in the actuarial profession?

I’m working with others in the IFoA space, through the Sustainability Board, and hoping that I bring a wider commercial lens to the debate.

 

What are some of the ways that actuarial professionals can bring sustainability into their roles?

When it comes to bringing sustainability into my work, my interest comes from trying to really understand how capital markets, shareholders, and wider stakeholders interact, given that climate and sustainability are global risks that can’t be diversified away.  For example with nearly $100 trillion invested in stock markets, much of it in trackers, how are shareholders and their representatives, with fiduciary responsibility, thinking about these issues?

Actuaries, be they in Pensions, Investment, Insurance or Life Industry have to consider long term views.  In my view, ESG is fundamental to that thinking and something we need to bring to our work and the advice to clients.

 

Do you have any advice on how to engage employers in sustainability issues and supporting actuarial professionals to bring a focus on sustainability to their roles?

My advice is that ESG and Sustainability issues are part of the real and business environment, and leaders need to be able to articulate the impacts, opportunities, and risks in the way they would for other forces (for example in a PEST analysis).  So do look for opportunities to inform yourself, practice speaking the ESG and Sustainability narrative, and think about how it impacts your role, customers, and clients.

 

Is there any other advice you’d like to share?

There are many talented passionate individuals out there and if you want to learn more, please reach out via LinkedIn or using the contact on the Actuarial Directory

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about sustainability at the IFoA you can visit our Sustainability Practice Area page.