Home » Featured News » Annual FIASI Conference Hosted at the Gabelli School of Business Convenes Top Industry Experts Who Explored the Latest Trends in Sustainable Finance in Fixed Income

Annual FIASI Conference Hosted at the Gabelli School of Business Convenes Top Industry Experts Who Explored the Latest Trends in Sustainable Finance in Fixed Income

Featured Events | May 28, 2024 |

Winners Announced for the 4th Annual FIASI-Gabelli School Student Research Competition on Sustainable Finance

In early May, the Fixed Income Analysts Society, Inc. (FIASI) with support from Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, hosted “Sustainable Finance in Fixed Income,” a full-day conference featuring the latest thought leadership on the adoption of sustainable principles within the financial industry. Although in recent years there has been a notable shift towards responsible investing overall, in some areas there has been a perceived backlash as markets adjust and industry grapples with developing regulatory frameworks, fluctuating media coverage, and misperceptions about new products being introduced into the market. The conference, which was attended by more than 222 individuals (in-person and virtually) from across investment management firms, credit rating agencies, banks, insurance companies, NGOs, ESG rating firms, and universities, explored a wide range of issues relevant to fixed income investors. Panel discussions and keynote presentations focused on the critical importance of fostering dialogue and collaboration within the investment community on this critical and rapidly evolving topic.

For the full line-up of speakers, visit the FIASI recent events page.

The conference kicked off with Shivaram Rajgopal, Ph.D., the Roy Kester and T.W. Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing at Columbia Business School, who delivered a keynote address that expressed his views on the state of sustainable investing and detailed some of the challenges facing investors who want to do well by doing good, but who are not armed with information that accurately reflects the state of sustainable investing today. He emphasized the importance of focusing on the big issues that will help to shape business in the future and on keeping core values in mind—although he acknowledged there are no easy formulas for transforming the way we do business for positive change.

In the panel that followed his remarks, which was moderated by Shaheen Contractor, CFA, a senior environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, industry experts from JP Morgan Asset Management, AXA Investment Managers, and Shenkman Capital Management, focused on the state of sustainable investing and the outlook for 2024, as well as on differing perceptions of business leaders, the press, and the public on this topic. There was broad agreement that client demand in fixed income is still increasing, and that, despite some setbacks, it will continue to grow slowly and steadily.

In another morning session moderated by Henry Shilling, director of research at Sustainable Research and Analysis, and a FIASI board member, panelists explored the largely unfettered growth of sustainable bonds, including green, social, sustainability, and sustainability-linked bonds, which are experiencing a watershed moment that has led to the emergence of ESG labeled bonds. These products specifically link bond performance to sustainable outcomes and provide investors with information that allows them to make educated choices about buying bonds that help “create a better, more sustainable world.”

Diana Glassman, director-engagement at Federated Hermes Limited, delivers post-lunch
keynote address

Just before a networking lunch, Sris Chattergee, Ph.D., Gabelli School chair in Global Security Analysis, along with Amy Levine, CFA, senior vice president, director of ESG, Shenkman Capital Management, Inc.; and Stephen M. Liberatore, CFA, senior managing director, head of ESG/Impact, Global Fixed Income, Nuveen, announced the winners of the Fordham University Center for Research in Contemporary Finance and the O’Shea Center for Credit Analysis and Investment, 4th Annual FIASI-Gabelli School Student Research Competition on Sustainable Finance. The Competition recognizes ongoing original research on the topic of sustainable finance in fixed income or related markets. Mayank Kumar, a Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, 5th-year Ph.D. candidate won first place for his paper titled “Getting Dirty Before You Get Clean:  Institutional Investment in Fossil Fuels and the Green Transition, which explores the relationship between private equity investment in fossil fuels and environmental outcomes. He presented his research findings at a virtual event on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Geeta Kapadia, CFA, chief investment officer, Fordham University, moderates the panel titled “Divestment Developments.”

The post-lunch keynote address was delivered by Diana Glassman, director-engagement at Federated Hermes Limited.

In a panel on divestment developments, Geeta Kapadia, CFA, who serves as Fordham University’s chief investment officer, moderated a discussion between executives from Carlson Funds Enterprise, University of Minnesota; Trinity Church Wall Street; as well as Walter Prahl, Ph.D., a Fordham University professor. This group detailed the importance of divestment as a catalyst for social change, and shared the example of the role of university divestment in the fall of apartheid in South Africa. The discussion also illustrated how divestment can be used to help expedite the transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.

Michael Ferguson, CFA, Americas analytical manager for the Sustainable Finance, S&P Global Ratings, moderates the panel titled “Private Assets/Private Credit.”

Late afternoon sessions included a panel titled Investment Company Rulemaking and Corporate Climate Reporting and Disclosure,” moderated by Alexander Dill, J.D., assistant adjunct professor, Master of Financial Engineering Program, UCLA Anderson School of Management, with experts from CDP North America, Cooley LLP, Sustainalytics, and PricewaterhouseCoopers weighing in on the latest developments in regulatory frameworks and disclosure requirements, including the recently announced Enhancements and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The last panel of the day, Private Assets/Private Credit,” was moderated by Michael Ferguson, CFA, Americas analytical manager for the sustainable finance, S&P Global Ratings, and included panelists from Oak Hill Advisors, BlackRock, and MSCI.

Closing remarks were delivered by Erin Lyons, co-president, CreditSights.

Written by: Paola Curcio-Kleinman, senior director of marketing and communications and Michelle Miller, associate director of communications, Gabelli School of Business

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