This is our second responsible investment and stewardship report. It provides concrete examples of how we're committed to helping our customers grow their savings over the long-term and contribute to a more sustainable world.

The full report includes detailed sections on these topics:

  • Our sustainability and stewardship approach
  • The ways in which members' interests inform decisions
  • How governance guides effective stewardship
  • The integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors across asset classes 
  • Oversight of fund managers, voting and engagement approaches, and efforts made to address systemic risks
  • How we collaborate with industry bodies to advocate for change
Mike Halliday-Williams pictured standing in the Aegon office

Stewardship is our way of creating long-term value for our customers, and key to helping them live their best lives. As proud signatories to the UK Stewardship Code, I'm pleased to introduce our second annual stewardship report, charting our progress during 2023, and setting our course for 2024. We've used the process of preparing this report to reflect on who we are, on the duties we owe to our customers and how those duties define our approach to the stewardship of the assets that we manage.

Mike Holliday-Williams, CEO

2024 will be the year where we strengthen our focus on sustainability as a systemic risk, where we define the key interventions that need to be made and where we build collaborations that can help us transition to a sustainable, resilient and more stable economic system.

Lorna Blyth, Managing Director, Investment Propositions, Aegon UK

Lorna Blyth profile picture

2023 report highlights

This year we strengthened our expectations for managers, regarding collaboration, engagement themes and transparency in a number of ways:

  • We introduced new criteria for those operating within fixed income.
  • Our annual manager monitoring assessment evaluated the 38 managers in scope of our responsible investment and stewardship policies on their performance across responsible investment governance, climate, industry advocacy, voting and engagement and human rights. 
  • We strengthened our approach to voting by testing our 'expression of wish' voting guidelines with our top three managers, analysing our alignment and using this information to deepen engagement and challenge where necessary. 

  • We improved our approach to managing climate risk by further embedding it in our risk management framework and expanding our approved risk scenarios to include 'climate tipping point' and 'climate backlash'.
  • We rolled out our climate road map across the business, clearly signposting the steps we must take to achieve our commitment to reach net zero across our default fund range by 20501.
  • We published a biodiversity white paper providing insights to pension providers on the need to focus on nature and biodiversity related risks along with guidance on how to mitigate these in their investment portfolios.  

1 Measured using carbon footprint across our range of default funds. Individual fund targets don’t apply. 2030 target applies to scope 1 and 2 emissions from listed equities (shares) and corporate fixed income (bonds) only.


  • We reviewed one of our largest default funds asking potential managers to demonstrate their approach to climate considerations and net-zero alignment.
  • Over half (£23.4 billion) of assets in our defined contribution (DC) default solutions apply screening or are optimised for ESG factors (as at 31 December 2023).
  • We launched a new fund range for Aegon Master Trust, designed with reference to the Investment Association's Responsible Investment Framework. 23 of the 252 funds in the range now integrate ESG to some extent in their investment process.  The range also included three Aegon BlackRock Lifepath funds.

2 These figures exclude the three Aegon BlackRock LifePath funds available in the Aegon Master Trust fund range. 

  • We introduced responsible investment-related competencies within our Board Skills Matrix.
  • We appointed a new responsible investment analyst to support the wider integration of responsible investments through proposition reviews and to help evolve our ESG integration framework. 
  • Our inaugural Stewardship Report, published May 2023, achieved signatory status from the Financial Reporting Council.

  • We became a founding signatory of the Mansion House Compact, a voluntary initiative between the largest nine DC pension firms in the UK to allocate at least 5% of DC default funds to unlisted equities by 2030.
  • We responded to a number of consultations focused on sustainable finance and the interests of pensions and savings customers. 
  • We used our voice to push for greater climate policy certainty, for example by being a signatory of a UKSIF letter to the Prime Minister to signal our support for ambitious climate policy.

  • We accelerated our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. 
  • We became proud signatories to the Woman in Finance Charter and the Race at Work Charter. 
  • We featured in the Business in the Community's (BITC) 2023 Race at Work Charter Survey report as a best practice example of a company building allyship support. 
  • We continued efforts to help ensure we have a positive impact on our urban biodiversity and ecosystems. We introduced beehives and bird houses, wildflower areas and insect hotels.

  • We developed our nature and biodiversity action plan and simplified and tested our responsible investment customer messaging in response to our annual customer feedback programme. 
  • We updated fund factsheets to incorporate clearer language detailing the responsible investment credentials for 25 key default funds.
  • Aegon and Pension Geeks created Pension Geeks TV, a digital platform that supports financial wellbeing and education, with pilot events reaching an audience of over 3,500 customers.

The value of investments may go down as well as up and isn't guaranteed. Investors may get back less than they invest.

mature woman sitting in nature and enjoying the view of a lake and mountains

Responsible investment and stewardship report 2023