Jillian is a Principal in Mercer’s responsible investment team, advising super funds and other institutional investors on how to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, sustainability trends, climate change, and stewardship, within investment processes. In addition, she contributes to new intellectual capital and was project manager and co-author for Mercer’s 2015 Investing in a Time of Climate Change report and ‘The Sequel’ in 2019.
Jillian has 20 years’ experience in financial services. She began at Mercer in 2004, transitioning to responsible investment in 2011, and has worked in both Sydney and London offices. Prior to Mercer, Jillian spent five years at an Australian multi-manager fund, after beginning her career in teaching.
Jillian holds a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the University of New South Wales; a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education, both from the University of Newcastle; and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.
Typically, economic actors are listed as government, the private sector and civil society, forgetting the super funds that span all three. Australian funds invest across the whole economy, for the long-term on behalf of individuals. However, many members don’t have a good understanding of the process or appreciate that their investments make them part owners in: the many buildings we work in or pass every day; the largest 300 companies listed on the Australian stock exchange; and the infrastructure that keeps our lights on and transports our food. Members may also not appreciate how climate change could affect the risks and returns for those investments.
The City’ is a great way to tangibly illustrate how we as members are part owners of where we live, work and visit and how it is mutually beneficial for us as residents and investors to act on climate change. There are already many exciting examples of how we can transition to a net zero carbon economy, create resilience in our physical environment, and minimise water use and unnecessary waste - proving we no longer need to make outdated binary choices between our economy and our environment.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
I’ve been privileged to travel extensively in Australia and globally, experiencing remarkable natural beauty and wonderful people. I believe a more sustainable planet is a more abundant, enjoyable planet for now and for future generations. Unfortunately, I’m also painfully aware of the urgent changes needed to create that more positive future.
This project is an opportunity to marry my work ‘investment’ world with ‘the real world’ where I live. Typically, economic actors are listed as government, the private sector and civil society, forgetting pension funds that sit across all three. These funds invest across the whole economy for the long-term on behalf of individuals.
Australian pension fund assets total $2.7trillion and funds are increasingly focused on climate change and sustainability for risk and return reasons. They are also keen to better engage members with their retirement savings. The City of Sydney could help make the tangible connections.
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