October 17, 2013
By Mark Cobley
Fund managers will find themselves under increased pressure to say in public how they call companies to account and ensure long-term sustainability in their business practices, following a new initiative set up by the National Association of Pension Funds.
The NAPF has designed what it calls a Stewardship Disclosure Framework, which it will organise through its website. Fund managers will be asked to post up their approach to corporate governance and sustainable investment, which will be publicly available for pension fund trustees, and other fund selectors, to view and compare.
The initiative has been set up in response to a call from government and regulators for pension funds, the ultimate owners of many UK shares, to do more to promote long-term business practices at the companies in which they invest.
Paul Spencer, the chairman of the £39 billion BT Pension Scheme, told conference delegates yesterday that pension funds “needed to push our fund managers harder on this”.
Mark Hyde Harrison, the NAPF’s outgoing chairman, said in his address to conference: “It will identify managers who are committed to Stewardship principles. It will be a public and transparent way to demonstrate their commitment, and it will provide a one-stop-shop for [pension] funds to effectively engage on this agenda.”