Responsible Business

2021 TD Securities Financial Services Conference: The impact of ESG

January 29, 2021 - 3 minutes
Two professionals chatting together
We recently hosted our annual TD Securities Financial Services Conference, an event focusing on the most important issues facing companies within the Financial Services sector. Even with a pivot to a virtual format, we continued to engage and facilitate a rich discussion on a variety of topics, including economic factors, market developments and regulatory changes, to name a few.

"Unlike many other industry conferences that focus primarily on company updates, the TDS Financial Services Conference is a forum to highlight key developments in the industry through engaging and insightful speakers and panels," says Geoff Bertram, Managing Director and Head of Financial Institutions Group, Corporate & Investment Banking. "Our goal is that attendees at the Conference come away with a deeper understanding of the issues impacting the Financial Services sector, and how many of Canada's leading companies and investors are tackling them."

One highlight from our conference was "The Impact of ESG on Insurance" panel, focusing on the issues currently faced by the companies in the insurance industry, many of whom also own large asset management businesses. Moderated by Amy West, our Global Head of Sustainable Finance & Corporate Transitions, our panelists included: Patrick Barbeau, Senior Vice President, Claims, Intact Financial Corporation; Alanna Boyd, Vice President, Government, Regulatory Affairs, and Sustainability, Sun Life; and Halina von dem Hagen, Global Treasurer and Head of Capital Management, Manulife.

Key themes our panelists explored were:
  • Increasing ESG awareness and regulations: As ESG is now widely accepted as a material financial risk, we are likely to see more immediate legislative progress around regulating and disclosing ESG data. One of the most pressing issues facing insurers and asset managers is the availability of reliable data needed to monitor, track and analyze the impact of ESG factors. Commitment to a low-carbon economy relies on our ability to access data and pivot business practices.
  • Mitigating physical and transition climate risk: The new pilot project from the Bank of Canada and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has been welcomed by the insurance industry to help navigate climate risk. The pilot, of which TD is a participant, uses climate change scenarios to better understand the risks to the financial system related to the transition to a low-carbon economy. This helps put the environmental factor investors consider into perspective and allows for a standardization of approaches.
  • Evolving role of corporations: As the spotlight on sustainability gets brighter, the roles companies are expected to play in society have drastically evolved. There has been a significant shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism; the idea that corporations have responsibilities beyond simply delivering returns to their shareholders. While COVID-19 emphasized this shift to a more inclusive form of capitalism, the role of companies in society is expected to continue to evolve beyond the pandemic.
  • Financing solutions: The pandemic has emphasized focus on the "social" component of ESG, translating in financial markets to a surge in the issuance of social bonds. As the impact of social criteria can be more challenging to measure and quantify than environmental, there is a growing need to develop more effective methods of measuring and interpreting data, as well as ensuring the information is reliable. To advance these efforts, financial institutions, including insurance companies and asset managers, need a seat at the table to help advance the discussion.

Learn more about our Sustainable Finance & Corporate Transitions team and our approach to supporting a net-zero carbon economy.


Headshot of Geoff Bertram


Managing Director, Head of Financial Institutions Group, TD Securities

Headshot of Geoff Bertram


Managing Director, Head of Financial Institutions Group, TD Securities

Headshot of Geoff Bertram


Managing Director, Head of Financial Institutions Group, TD Securities

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