Friday, May 29, 2015

AMNT Summer Conference: London 24 June 2015

"The AMNT summer conference is set to take a historic step in the advancement of the rights of pension schemes to protect their investments by actively directing fund managers' engagement and voting at company meetings.

This is an extremely important matter: insufficiently robust governance of companies has led to corporate errors and misjudgments that have cost them - and in turn the investors - billions in fines, compensation, slashed dividends and drop in shareprice. Our pensions schemes are among those that have lost out.

Until now, the ability to set an engagement and voting policy for your fund manager has generally been confined to the largest pension schemes. Small schemes and those that invest in pooled funds have faced the reluctance of fund managers to allow you to set a policy. Some have been told that your scheme is too small to have anything to do with responsible investment.

However, for the last two years AMNT has been developing a new initiative called red line voting that would enable trustee boards to play an active role in directing policy on corporate governance, social and environmental issues. And not before time: current reports indicate that legal action is being threatened against some pension schemes that are failing to address environmental risks associated with the companies in which they invest.

Those of you who have attended our meetings over the last year have received our regular reports on our development of Red Line Voting. You may also have read the very favourable reporting of it in the industry's press. We have consulted widely across the fund management industry and have worked very closely with the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (www.uksif.org) so we are confident that the Red Lines we are developing are workable. We have received the public support of the previous Secretary of State for Business, Dr Vince Cable has urged the fund management industry to work with AMNT to make it happen.

On 24th June we will put our Red Lines before you for discussion and invite you to vote them into existence. So if you, like the AMNT committee, would like all pension schemes to have the option of playing an active role in responsible investment, for the long term benefit of their schemes, then please come along to your summer conference and vote them into existence.

Joining us at our summer conference will be Saker Nusseibeh, Chief Executive Officer of Hermes and Faith Ward of The Environment Agency.

Pension freedoms
We will be sharing experiences of how the pension freedoms have panned out since April and will be hearing a rather concerning analysis of the largely unnoticed crash in the bond market last October. We will be finding out what alternatives there might be.

Please register now to secure your place at the AMNT's summer conference, which takes place at BNY Mellon.

Click here to join the AMNT for free and to register also for free at the conference"
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