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investors join forces to strengthen their engagement

September 2003

Eight large institutional investors have decided to combine forces to engage with companies on their social and environmental performance.

They have agreed to share experiences of how best to engage with companies in an attempt to develop a more strategic approach.

The seven investment fund managers and one pension fund also hope that by greater co-ordination they will increase the likelihood that companies will listen to them, while reducing the number of meetings their representatives have to attend.

The investors, who between them have £454billion ($724bn) of funds under management, are: Co-operative Insurance Society, Henderson Global Investors, Insight Investment, ISIS Asset Management, Jupiter Asset Management, Morley Fund Management, Schroder Investment Management, and the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

The pilot ‘collaborative engagement programme’ will initially fund a new post at the UK Social Investment Forum to support two existing SRI engagement programmes – the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and the Pharmaceutical Shareowners Group. All of the eight already take part in one or both of these initiatives, along with other investors. They will also support research into best practice on engaging with companies.

USS chairman Graeme Davies said the central secretariat, which will be based at Uksif, would give companies one point of contact rather than several.

‘When many of the largest investors who are interested in corporate social responsibility take the same approach, companies will find it easier to make an appropriate response,’ he claimed.

Helen Barnes, who has been appointed Uksif’s collaborative engagement officer, told EP: ‘Many engagement initiatives tend to be ad hoc at present, as do alliances between investors. The focus at first will be on the engagement process, but in time this is likely to switch to investor collaboration on a range of issues. It makes sense for investors to combine their knowledge. It gives them more clout and access.’




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