[INDUSTRY PROJECT] Enabling investment transparency by developing an interactive web-based dashboard to show data on various pension funds

Helen Shepherd


Supervised by Helen R Phillips; Moderated by Ian M Cooper

This company partners with UK's largest investment and pension platforms, empowering them to provide their investors with transparency over the companies they are invested in and a shareholder voice on issues they care about at those companies, whether that be gender equality, human rights or climate change. Currently the company shows the user a flat list of all the companies in either a single fund, or an aggregated list of companies across a number of funds within that user's pension. The company would like to explore alternative ways of presenting the structure and contents to make the data more visually engaging and to show the interaction of different funds. This should enable pension members to be more engaged with where their money is invested and may also be of use to other interested parties such as pension trustees. This will involve accessing data via the company's APIs to gain up-to-date information on investments.

There are several factors that make the challenge of visually presenting the structure quite difficult: • Funds may be nested within funds to an arbitrarily deep level Any given fund may hold hundreds or even thousands of different shares, while some other funds may contain a small number of holdings, typically in other funds. • Particularly in the case where funds invest in other funds, it's possible for a popular company (e.g. Apple) to appear multiple times. In our flat list we aggregate this information. • The company's representation of a fund is essentially a weighted graph of holdings, where the sum of the holdings weights within a fund equal 1.0 and reflect the total proportion of the fund, by value, that each holding represents. • Some funds contain cash and bonds which are considered lower-risk investments than shares • The level of financial knowledge and understanding the majority of users have is typically very low indeed, with many not even realised pensions are invested, but ranges through to extremely knowledgable users some of whom work in the pension industry themselves. From a user expereince perspective this presents a challenge to come up with something that is simple enough for the inexpert users to understand and find interesting and educational, whilst giving power users the ability to dig deeper

Final Report (07/10/2021) [Zip Archive]

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