Universal Ownership Webinar

The Children's Investment Fund Foundation are pleased to have Dr Ellen Quigley and Dr Belinda Bell from the University of Cambridge available to provide a webinar on the topic of Universal Ownership. 

How can we better engage with senior leaders with new thinking in sustainable finance and climate risk? How do we reach top-level asset owners: pension funds, endowments and sovereign wealth funds? Join us for this webinar led by Dr Ellen Quigley and Dr Belinda Bell from the University of Cambridge on the lessons learned from their success in forging a pathway for researchers and civil society to engage with an elite group of finance leaders, building bridges between academic, NGOs and asset owners to enable impacts in the real economy. In this work, Dr Quigley builds out academic theory about Universal Ownership and puts this new concept into action. Through interviews with over 100 senior leaders in finance (to date), new relationships have been built to share knowledge and co-create frameworks for thinking about managing large pools of capital for the benefit of people and planet. Their two Summits on Universal Ownership brought together leaders from 14 major international pension funds and endowment funds. In this informal workshop, you will be able to pick their brains on how to spread new ideas in sustainable finance to a wide range of international institutions.

The first hour of the webinar will focus on engaging at the senior/elite level with asset owners and leaders in finance: How do you get an hour on the phone with finance leaders? How do you persuade CEOs to travel to Cambridge during the chaos of Covid? The sustainable finance team at Cambridge University have engaged with a broad network of financial institutions and major holders of capital, from banks to pensions to the endowments at their own University. This session will reflect on the strategies they’ve used to reach finance leaders. 

The second hour of the webinar will focus on the challenges and opportunities of brining new ideas to finance leaders: Universal Ownership is a powerful idea from academia, but a new concept to leaders in finance. The Cambridge team leveraged their academic work on understanding how asset owners manage capital across a wide portfolio to engage with the finance sector through in-person summits, leading to the creation of a working group and contributions to research. This session will reflect on the opportunities and challenges they’ve found along the way, and their next steps.

About the speakers

  • Dr Ellen Quigley : Dr Ellen Quigley is a Senior Research Associate in Climate Risk & Sustainable Finance at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) and the Special Adviser (Responsible Investment) to the Chief Financial Officer, both at the University of Cambridge. Her work centres on the mitigation of climate change and inequality through the investment policies and practices of institutional investors. She is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and holds an AB in English literature from Harvard College, an MSc in Nature, Society, and Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in economics education from the University of Cambridge. Her article, Universal Ownership in Practice: A Practical Investment Framework for Asset Owners, won the GRASFI Paper Prize for Potential Impact on Sustainable Finance Practices in 2020.
  • Dr Belinda Bell : Belinda is a social entrepreneur who works through academia to drive real world social and environmental impact. With over 20 years leadership experience in establishing and growing innovative, impactful organisations and programmes that bridge the public, private and third sectors. Currently Belinda is working at the interface of finance and systemic risk, collaborating with the world’s largest asset-owners to enable their financial resources to be stewarded in service of planetary boundaries and just societies. Having considerable experience of governance in a non-executive capacity, Belinda’s current roles include as Chair of a high profile national children’s charity and trustee of an international peace NGO. Working within and alongside many social enterprises that have raised external investment, Belinda’s academic research explores social finance and impact investment. Belinda is a Senior Research Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge, and a fellow in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School where she contributes to the Masters in Social Innovation, amongst other programmes.

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