The UK's £300m Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund insists it did nothing wrong by investing in companies which are alleged to be not socially responsible.
The defined benefit scheme – which has more than 700 active members – said it was ”obliged” to invest in firms which would give the best returns for its members.
Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund pensions unit manager Lucy Watson said: “We want to ensure our members get the best returns for their money. If they wish, members can approach the trustees at anytime and ask where their money is being invested.”
However, The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund’s statement of principles says trustees that believe companies run in the long term interests of shareholders must manage relationships with their employees, suppliers and customers responsibly and effectively. They must also take a responsible approach to social, ethical and environmental issues.
The pension fund refused to comment on whether its fund managers – Cazenove and Baring Asset Management – had ignored this request.The fund managers have been investing in BAE Systems – which sold hawk fighter jets to Indonesia – Railtrack, Shell and BP – which was controversially involved in Nigeria.
More than £2m of the scheme's assets have also been invested in tobacco firms such as Imperial Tobacco.
House of Commons health select committee chairman and Wakefield MP David Hinchcliffe was very disturbed by the choice of investments.He said: I feel very much aggrieved that we MPs appear to be having our personal resources invested in industries involved in practices I would regard as deplorable.”
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