Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


pension body fights shy of CSR policy

November 2005

The UK pension industry's trade body has decided against producing guidelines on corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investment.

The National Association of Pension Funds, whose members control assets of more than £700billion ($1225bn) and account for about a sixth of investment in the UK stock market, made the decision after 'lengthy' discussions on whether it should have formal policies in these areas. In a position statement, the association says it has decided not to have a policy or to draw up guidelines similar to those it produced on corporate governance last year. The statement notes the 'proliferation of advisory services' and says it does not believe it would be 'helpful' to add to these by introducing guidelines. It does however urge pension scheme trustees to ensure investment managers take account of CSR.

Mark Mansley, strategy manager at Rathbone Greenbank Investments, which provides SRI advisory services for pension funds, told EP the decision not to produce guidelines 'probably reflects the wide-ranging, different views of CSR and SRI among pension funds, and the fact that reaching a consensus was too difficult at this stage'.

He added that the statement 'does go some way towards a policy because it says, for instance, that boards should develop and disclose CSR policies and that SRI should be integral to the investment management process'.

The UK Social Investment Forum welcomed the statement, but said many of its members would still urge NAPF to produce guidance on governance matters such as executive pay.

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