Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ethical pension fund investments

Yesterday’s Courier highlighted concerns about the Tayside Superannuation Investment Fund’s holdings in companies such as Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco in terms of concerns about ethical behaviour.

The investment fund’s holdings in these companies are significant: 
This is an important issue and, in short, I do not believe superannuation investment should be investing in any companies that do not act ethically.  

During the time I chaired the Tayside Superannuation Investment Sub-Committee from 2005 to 2007, I had concern that the fund was purely required to maximise returns for its members and I called for changes to legislation to be altered to give superannuation investment funds more flexibility.

Guidance issued by government in 2011, together with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy’s Pensions Panel guidance on investment decision making, now appears to give welcome flexibility to superannuation investment funds to reject unethical investments. 

I have written to the City Council’s Chief Executive and the Director of Corporate Services seeking clarification about the actions of the pension fund and assurances that all investments will henceforth take account of ethical and social considerations.