Aviva calls for global leaders to tackle short-termism in business

Article date: 15 October 2014

Speaking today at the United Nations World Investment Forum in Geneva Mark Wilson, Group Chief Executive Officer of Aviva plc, called on regulators, policy makers and business leaders to tackle short-termism in regulation, stock exchanges and accounting principles. He argued that “not being sustainable could be the biggest market failure of all time.”

Aviva is an international insurer with £241billion of assets under management; which it invests on behalf of its 31 million customers around the world.

“One of our core values,” Mark Wilson said, “is to create legacy – I call it ‘being a good ancestor.’  So what we do now still resonates and creates value in the future….This is common sense.  It makes sense for the planet.  And it’s good business sense.

 “We’ve all seen images of what an unsustainable future looks like.  I have an entirely different vision of the future.  It’s a vision of patient capital, rather than ‘hot money’.   I don’t trust ‘hot money’, yet many governments heat things up with inconsistent policies and regulation… regulators, exchanges and accounting principles drive us to look short-term.  That’s to everyone’s detriment.

“This short term regulatory environment is like kryptonite to sustainability… What we want is a stable policy environment.”

Looking ahead, Mark Wilson proposed three areas for change:

  1. Systemic transparency and consistency: so that all those involved in investment decisions are required to say how they use corporate sustainability information.
  2. Increased financial literacy: so people understand the impacts of investment.
  3. Aligning incentives:  so that everyone in the investment process thinks long-term.

The details of each recommendation are contained in the report ‘Roadmap for Sustainable Capital Markets’, written by Aviva Investors.

Mark Wilson ended by saying that everyone must work together; business, government and regulators. “The different bodies and institutions have to get their heads together and speak with a unified voice.”

-Ends-

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Heleana Greeves                                                                    +44 (0)20 7662 0405

Notes to editors:

Corporate Knights Capital Report; Measuring Sustainability Disclosure: Ranking the World Stock Exchanges:

Mark Wilson also welcomes the publication of the latest report from Corporate Knights Capital, which ranks the world’s stock exchanges, based on how well they encourage listed companies to report basic, non-financial data which act as indicators of an organisation’s sustainability. Read the Full Corporate Knights Capital Report PDF (0.84Mb)

About the World Investment Forum:

The WIF takes place from 13 to 16 October in Geneva, Switzerland at the United Nations Office. It aims to promote investment for sustainable development and facilitate policy dialogue among a diverse community of investment stakeholders. Attendees include Heads of State and Government, Ministers and representatives from the private sector, including CEOs; academics and research institutions.

About Aviva:

  • Aviva provides 31 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products.
  • We are one of the UK’s leading insurers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance.
  • We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand.
  • We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.
  • The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media/ includes images, company and product information and a news release archive
  • For an interactive introduction to what we do and how we do it, please click here http://www.aviva.com/library/reports/this-is-aviva/
  • For broadcast-standard video, please visit http://www.aviva.com/media/video/
  • Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc/

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