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In brief: Phoenix Group ‘will give up spread for better ESG performance’

Insurance giant is ‘happy to’ provide more favourable lending terms for assets with better ESG performance.

Phoenix Group, a London-based insurance company with assets worth £296.1 billion ($408.6 billion; 361.1 billion), “will give up spread for better ESG performance over time”, when investing in infrastructure debt, said the firm’s head of private debt, Tom Sumpster.

“We’d be happy to lend longer term on a sustainable investment than, let’s say, an oil and gas deal, where I think that longevity is disappearing,” Sumpster added, speaking yesterday about the long-term sustainability of different assets at affiliate title Infrastructure Investor’s Global Summit in Berlin.

When choosing funds to invest in, Phoenix considers “how managers are able to report on ESG characteristics of the book that they’re investing on our behalf and equally the companies that are being invested in. What performance indicators are there that are challenging that company to better themselves over time? That’s key”.