UK - High profile pension fund officials have objected to proposals to select trustees for the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) based on geographical representation.
“Under the proposals, it seems like technical competence is taking somewhat of a back seat to geographical diversity,” said Cynthia Richson, corporate governance officer at the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.
“What has caused this to be an issue is that there is a push by some of our commentators to have a geographical composition,” said Tom Seidenstein, director of operations at the IASC.
“This is becoming a more common European stance.” Geographical based selection could also jeopardise the IASB’s independence, said Frank Curtiss, special projects officer at the British Railways Pension Scheme.
Daniel Summerfield, adviser for responsible investment for the University Superannuation Scheme, sees some advantage in increasing the geographical representation of the board from nine to 12, but only if the trustees are selected via a “robust process”, with the primary focus on skills and technical competence.
The IASC is in its third round of public comment on the proposed constitution, having initiated the process in 2003.
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