UK - The £20bn Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is expanding its corporate governance activities.
The scheme, which has been recruiting extra staff for its London investment office to improve its assessment of firms on environmental and ethical standards, also wants more pension fund solidarity on corporate governance issues.
USS senior adviser for socially responsible investment Raj Thamotheram said: “Post Enron, WorldCom, Citigroup, Marconi, Railtrack et al, we are increasingly convinced that not to take a company’s performance on corporate governance and corporate social responsibility issues into account would be to neglect an important part of our fiduciary duty.
“And given the importance of doing this work in a way which maximises the positive impact for the fund and minimises cost, we are very keen on working with other pension funds which share this perspective.”
Thamotheram spoke out shortly after USS published detailed policy statements on corporate governance and SRI.
The statements outline the scheme’s stance on a range of issues including executive remuneration, non-executive directors and the responsibility of FTSE100 companies to report on social, environmental and ethical issues.
Also revealed is USS’s voting record at annual and extraordinary general meetings during the first three months of this year.
Jupiter Asset Management head of environmental research Emma Howard Boyd said it was important for pension funds that take SRI issues into account when investing, to provide feedback to scheme members.
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