UK - HSBC Actuaries & Consultants is surveying fund managers to assess the effectiveness of their socially responsible investment and corporate governance strategies.
The consultant believes the industry as a whole lacks the ability to assess objectively how fund managers are performing – particularly when comparing one with another.
HSBC has questioned 94 fund managers about their governance and SRI policies to determine the actual, rather than perceived, levels of act-ivism, engagement and voting.
The survey results are due to be published in late September and will, according to HSBC senior investment consultant John Finch, enable the firm to advise clients more effectively on principles set out in the Paul Myners report about measuring governance policy.
Finch said the survey also asked managers to comment on whether they believed in the activity and engagement they were undertaking.
He added: “It is not always about voting – it is about engaging with the companies they invest in. We’ve asked them if they feel it has really added value. That is the ultimate litmus test of the process.”
The survey looks at fund managers’ policies, voting records, resources and what particular guidelines they follow.
In its response, Bedlam Asset Management said that while corporate governance was important, it would not blindly follow guidelines issued by the Institutional Shareholders’ Committee, the Association of British Insurers and the National Association of Pension funds.
General manager Mick FitzGerald said: “All three groups are industry bodies designed to promote the interest and welfare of their members, i.e. companies and fund managers. We are more interested in the welfare of investors and this is not stated as a purpose of their existence.”
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