The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) will analyse European pension funds’ exposure to “ESG” in next year’s biennial stress test of the sector, a spokeswoman has confirmed.The two-part analysis will involve a qualitative assessment of how occupational pension funds incorporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors into their processes and assess the exposures of their investment portfolio, the spokeswoman said.This will be complemented by a quantitative exercise, with a focus on identifying business activities that are prone to being exposed to risks related to a transition to a low-carbon environment.Speaking about the stress tests at a conference in Brussels on Monday, Matti Leppälä, CEO of PensionsEurope, said the qualitative ESG-related section would include questions about pension funds’ policies, for example in relation to voting and engagement, and the impact of the Shareholder Voting Rights Directive on pension funds. The quantitative part would involve asking pension funds how much of their portfolio is exposed to the most emissions-intensive business sectors, he said.Leppälä said EIOPA was engaging with stakeholders such as PensionsEurope and emphasised that the plan for the stress test had not yet been adopted.The EIOPA spokeswoman said the supervisory authority was taking “its first steps to get a more tangible understanding of IORPs’ exposure to ESG”.A recent study of the impact of climate change on Dutch pension funds’ coverage ratios found that these could drop by up to 80% if global temperatures rose by 4°C, and 20% if global average temperatures only rose by 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.ESG risk move well trailedIn 2016, the European Systemic Risk Board proposed that stress tests of the financial sector by European supervisory authorities (ESAs) should include risks stemming from a late low-carbon transition. EIOPA last year indicated that it would probably include ESG aspects in the 2019 pension fund stress tests.At the time, EIOPA said: “ESG aspects including climate change will be of growing importance for the pensions sector and will require cautious assessment of any financial stability implications.”This was in line with a proposal from the European Commission for EIOPA and its counterparts to incorporate sustainability considerations into their work, from the perspective of ensuring financial stability and “thereby making financial markets activity more consistent with sustainable objectives”.Enhancing the ESAs’ role in assessing ESG-related risks was one of the recommendations made by the High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance.Sustainable finance is very clearly on EIOPA’s agenda, not least because it dedicated a significant part of its recent annual conference to the topic.
Carl Schneider can’t seem to shake free from his hometown. He was born and raised in Madison, played four years as a defenseman and midfielder for the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team, and now he’s an inaugural member of Forward Madison Football Club, the professional soccer team that will take the field this spring.Before his days as a Badger, Schneider gained notoriety as a local soccer icon. As a senior at La Follette High School, Schneider was named the Wisconsin State Journal Player of the Year on his way to leading La Follette to a 21-2-1 overall record and its first-ever Big Eight Conference title. A three-time La Follette MVP and four-year All-Big Eight Conference honoree, Schneider took his talents to UW in the Fall of 2011, where he redshirted his freshman year before becoming a starter by his redshirt sophomore season.Schneider was a strong presence on the field as a defender at UW, allowing him the opportunity to move to the professional level after graduation. He went on to play for a low-level professional Swedish team before returning to the U.S. in the fall of 2018 to pursue a career with Forward Madison, where he will once again be playing defensive back.Forward Madison FC Head Coach Daryl Shore offers insight, optimism on inaugural seasonDaryl Shore, the head coach of Forward Madison FC, the new professional soccer team that calls Madison its home, is Read…The La Follette High School graduate expressed excitement in playing against his former team in an upcoming exhibition match between the Badgers and Forward Madison.“It’s awesome,” Schneider said. “I think when I look back at my sophomore year as a redshirt, even the coaches would admit that they’d be surprised that I’m coming back as a professional player. This game is an opportunity to show that I’ve really grown as a player since I graduated.”The exhibition will take place April 16 at Breese Stevens Field and will be quite the spectacle for Madison’s soccer community. The game provides the first opportunity for fans of Forward Madison to see the team in action, as all of their earlier exhibition matches will be either closed to the public or away from Madison.“We are very excited for the opportunity to play Forward Madison,” UW Head Coach John Trask said. “This match will provide us the opportunity to expose our current student athletes to another level of soccer. We look forward to an entertaining and challenging game, and will be thrilled to see UW alumnus Carl Schneider potentially representing Forward Madison.”Forward Madison will also be hosting an exhibition against their Major League Soccer affiliate — Minnesota United — June 25 at Breese Stevens Field. The match marks the first time since the Chicago Fire visited Milwaukee in 2005 that an MLS team will play in the state of Wisconsin. As Forward Madison’s affiliate, Minnesota United will also be loaning players to them throughout the season.So far, Forward Madison has played in two exhibition matches, one against Indy Eleven and another against St. Louis FC. Both teams compete in the United Soccer League Championship division, one tier above Forward Madison, but the team scored a 1–0 victory against Indy and battled hard in a 1–0 defeat at the hands of St. Louis.“As a whole, I was really impressed with us. I felt that to not only win but to hold our own possession-wise and defending, that’s a good sign for us heading into the season,” Schneider said, discussing the win against Indy Eleven.Forward Madison FC: UW alumnus looks to be hometown favorite as new inducteeUniversity of Wisconsin soccer alumnus Carl Schneider is the newest signee of Forward Madison FC, Madison’s first ever professional soccer Read…Schneider also approved of how Head Coach Daryl Shore has approached the team thus far, saying he’s built them up instead of knocking them down.“So far, it has been more of a build-up to the season,” Schneider said. “Slowly learning all of the principles that coach wants us to play with: pressing, attacking shape and possession in general. It’s been a work in progress, but we are learning something new every day.”With the regular season set to begin on the road April 6 against Chattanooga, Forward Madison is in full-on preparation mode, getting ready for a grueling 28-game regular season. The season features a few additional exhibition matches, including those against UW, Minnesota United and another against the Green Bay Voyagers in early June. There is also the potential for more exhibition matches, depending on scheduling conflicts.After the regular season concludes in the first week of October, the top four teams in USL-League One will head to the postseason in a single elimination bracket. With only ten teams in the league, there is a high chance that Forward Madison can make the postseason. There will be a total of three postseason games, two semifinal matches and the final.In a previous interview, Shore said he believes his team has what it takes to win the league in its inaugural season.Shore said he expects to be “holding up a trophy, hopefully in front of a home crowd, as well as a parade down State Street.”Needless to say, as we approach the spring soccer season in Madison, it is evident that the team and fans alike are excited to begin a new era of professional sports in the city.Carl Schneider is no stranger to the Madison soccer community. But Forward Madison FC has provided him a unique opportunity that did not previously exist — playing professional soccer in the city he loves.