Environmental lobby group Friends of the Earth has attacked the government on the eve of stakeholder pensions launch claiming it failed to disclose the availability of socially responsible investment-based pensions.
FoE said industry surveys consistently have shown that around three quarters of people in the UK believe that pension funds should use their influence to encourage companies to be socially responsible.
The groundswell of support follows the government’s amendment of the Pensions Act last June requiring fund managers to tell existing pension scheme members whether they considered the ethical, social or environmental impact of the companies they invested in.
But, FoE said many people are still unaware that they can opt for an ethically-managed pension fund when they are applying for stakeholder pension.
FoE investment campaigner, Simon McRae, said the government should be doing much more to encourage companies to become more socially responsible. “Surveys show that the British public want pensions funds to encourage companies to behave more ethically. The least the Government can do is to provide details about socially responsible pensions in its new guide.
Independent Financial Advisers Ethical Investors Group Director, Lee Coates, said it sees the introduction of the stakeholder pension as a socially responsible act. “The lack of information on the socially responsible options available to investors, at the point of advice, mars an otherwise good scheme. Members of company pension schemes have this information easily to hand, yet stakeholder pension investors seem to be denied this fundamental piece of information when they need it most - when they are signing on the dotted line.
By James Wallace
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