Several U.K. asset owners and money managers are collaborating to examine how stewardship should be better integrated into the investment process to create value for plan participants.
A steering group led by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and the U.K. Investment Association was launched Wednesday in an effort to strengthen the relationship between asset owners and investment managers with regard to stewardship. The members of the group will work to specify how disclosures should demonstrate that stewardship and investment approaches have been aligned with investors' expectations. The members will also collaborate to increase the importance of stewardship in manager selection processes and manager performance by making recommendations.
The steering group members are Richard Butcher, chairman of the PLSA; Archie Struthers, global head of investment governance and oversight at Standard Life Aberdeen; Helen Dean, CEO of the £15 billion ($20.3 billion) defined contribution multiemployer plan National Employment Savings Trust, London; Rachel Elwell, CEO at the £46 billion Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, Leeds, England; Luba Nikulina, managing director, global head of research at Willis Towers Watson; Stuart O'Brien, partner at law firm Sacker & Partners; Jennifer Ryan, head of U.K. institutional client business at BlackRock; and Robert Walker, global co-head of asset stewardship at State Street Global Advisors. Messrs. Butcher and Struthers were named co-chairmen of the steering group.
Commenting on the formation of the new group, NEST's Ms. Dean said in an emailed comment: "Investors like pension schemes should be active stewards. We have a responsibility to help our members achieve the best long-term returns — investing without engaging is handing over the power of our members' voices to others."
"With annual general meeting season fast approaching, now is the time for investors to be considering key issues affecting businesses. AGMs are one of the few formal times where shareholders can directly engage with the board and senior executives and have a say in how the company is run," she added.
Sarah Woodfield, stewardship manager at the Investment Association, said in an IA news release Wednesday: "By working together with pension schemes, we can further embed stewardship within the investment process to ensure our members are delivering long-term sustainable value, that not only meets schemes' financial objectives, but will also deliver on their environmental, social and governance aims."