Press release, February 2024 - WYPF investment beliefs

West Yorkshire Pension Fund (‘WYPF’) is proud to announce a number of key developments following the recent review of its strategic asset allocation (SAA) and its investment beliefs.

WYPF is one of the largest funds in the Local Government Pension Scheme, with assets of over £18bn, and provides pensions to former employees of the five West Yorkshire local authorities plus other related employers.

WYPF has agreed three key investment themes that it will look to embed within its updated Investment Strategy Statement, based around the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals;

  • Increased investment in climate solutions to help meet the Fund’s 2050 net zero target.
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities to support for example; investment in sustainable and affordable transport, the building of affordable and energy efficient homes, retro fitting existing housing stock and developing brown field sites.
  • Economic growth driving decent work to support greater investment in innovation and infrastructure to address today’s challenges and creating better job opportunities for all.

To reinforce our commitment to increased investment in climate solutions, WYPF wishes to make clear that it will not use WYPF assets to fund new fossil fuel developments. In particular, WYPF will not be lending to the oil, gas and coal sector and will continue to work with other like-minded investors to demand a similar approach from the banking industry.

WYPF will review its level of equity holdings in the oil and gas sector. This review will include an assessment of the impact of WYPF’s engagement with the sector as a responsible and active shareholder working closely with the Northern LGPS Pool, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and a range of other climate-focused investor groups. Pending completion of this review, WYPF will not be increasing its holdings in listed fossil fuel stocks.

The Fund’s investment strategy following the SAA review, and including its investment beliefs as outlined above, will be issued for consultation with stakeholders in February 2024.

Cllr Andrew Thornton, Chair of West Yorkshire Pension Fund Investment Advisory Panel said: “WYPF’s primary responsibility is to ensure that members’ pension promises are met at an affordable and sustainable cost to employers. Investment beliefs are a crucial part of setting the Fund’s asset allocation to achieve this aim and also help shape the responsible investment policy.

“Whilst all of the UN Sustainable Development Goals have clear merit, we were able to build the most coherent investment thesis around the three themes that we have chosen, which complement our work with a range of local and national partners to help drive sustainable economic growth locally and deliver a positive real-world climate impact.”

“WYPF is committed to achieving Net Zero emissions for our investments by 2050 and we want to see real-world transition from the companies that it invests in.”

“With regards to the fossil-fuel sector in particular, as responsible and engaged investors, we wish to make clear that WYPF does not support further development and that we expect to see tangible progress being made by these companies over the next 12 months.”