Opening the pensions book

7th January, 2008 by Hannah Bullock

Friends Provident top of new ethical rating
Britain’s biggest fund management groups vary hugely in the degree to which they keep their customers informed about the environmental and social impacts of their investments. That’s the conclusion of a study by the campaign group FairPensions, which assessed the websites of leading companies and asked fund managers to provide details of their policies. It found some were a great deal less forthcoming than others.

FairPensions surveyed 20 funds with a combined total investment of £7 trillion on behalf of individuals, pension funds and charities. Top of the class was F&C, owned by Friends Provident. The fund was praised both for the efforts made to keep investors informed, and for its work to improve the ethical performance of the companies it invests in. Joint second on 83% were Hermes, Insight Investment and Morley, and Norwich Union’s fund management arm. Bottom of the class were Goldman Sachs Asset Management and State Street Global Advisors, both of which scored 0.

FairPensions executive director Alex van der Velden said: “Our findings demonstrate a clear gap between rhetoric and activity. Although many organisations are getting to grips with corporate social responsibility, fund managers are still behind the times.” – Julian Rollins

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