Mercer believes good governance adds value to investment programs and that this is especially true during market corrections and crises. This paper evaluates how large, diversified asset owners are applying their governance policies to the current pandemic-driven crisis associated with COVID-19. Mercer’s thesis is that leading asset owners are finding ways to pursue attractive risk-adjusted investment returns, while also taking investment actions to help mitigate and address the impact of the pandemic.
Specifically, the World Economic Forum and Mercer recently completed the first part of a multi-year investigation1 into investment and governance practices regarding global systemic risks. The framework created during this investigation can be applied to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 20202 highlights the most significant risks faced by the world today. From this report, Mercer focuses on six key global systemic risks identified as most relevant to long-term investors. These six risks have varying importance to different asset owners based upon each fund’s objectives, policy mandates, capital adequacy and governing structures.
In this context, the Navigating a pandemic-driven market crisis report has two objectives:
- Evaluate the usefulness of governance strategies developed to address more gradual but equally destabilizing systemic trends in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic-driven market crisis.
- Consider practical investment actions by long-term investors that support economic recovery and help generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. We reference such investments as “transformational”.
During a crisis, reliable governance policies should address shortcomings in an investment program’s implementation with forward-looking strategy, enhancing decision-making and collaboration of key stakeholders.