What significance does Joe Biden's appointment as president of the United States have in terms of sustainable investment? Biden's plans for new rules for climate, workers' rights and more openness put Anna Pot, APG's head of Responsible Investments Americas, in a hopeful mood. However: 'America is so divided, it's still far from certain.'
Normally on the first day of the week, the APG investment teams in the United States are busy trading on the New York Stock Exchange. But not at the time of the interview: The third Monday in January of each year, Wall Street is closed on account of Martin Luther King Junior Day. On her day off, Anna Pot, APG’s Head of Responsible Investments Americas, takes her time to share her views on the changeover of power at the White House: what significance will Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' policies as new US President and Vice President respectively have in terms of responsible investment?
Ms Pot and her family moved to New York in the summer of 2016 to set up a local responsible investment team. The team is working with 165 APG investors in the US to invest the pension capital of the affiliated funds, sustainably. She looks back on four special years, coinciding exactly with Donald Trump's first (and only) term as president. The year 2020 was particularly 'bizarre', giving us the presidential elections, the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the Corona crisis. Since March, all APG employees have been working from home in the US as well.
Organizing a presidential dinner at home
She makes the most of it, although she misses the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and especially the direct contact with her colleagues and the investment teams. Yet the crisis makes her resourceful: for example, a meeting was held in Central Park once in the open air and she participated with 159 APG colleagues in the corona marathon: running the New York marathon together, virtually. And by way of distraction for her family, she organized a presidential dinner at home, among other things. The long election battle between Trump and Joe Biden and the contention of the result culminated in Trump supporters storming the Capitol in Washington DC on January 6.
How have you experienced the past two weeks?
'It was unprecedented. My colleagues and I were glued to the TV screen, we couldn't believe our eyes. We called each other and sent text messages: Did you see this?'