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Asset owners have responsibility to examine managers' PRI disclosure – Ilmarinen

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Asset owners have a responsibility to let information disclosed under the new Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) framework inform their appointments of asset managers, the head of responsible investment at Finland’s Ilmarinen has said.

Anna Hyrske said she was looking forward to using the new PRI reporting framework – outlining how signatories to the code should disclose their socially responsible investment approach – and added that it would make her role at the €31bn mutual pension insurer “a lot easier”.

Speaking at a conference in Paris organised by Novethic, she also said one of the most critical components of the reporting framework was that it could act as a road map for investors.

“It helps you to develop your own actions and see where you do really well, what you could do better,” she said.

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“We used a lot of the PRI questionnaire as an internal development tool to see where [we wanted to go] with our resources, what we would like to do differently and so on.”

While Hyrske was critical of the pilot version of the new framework, she said the one in place now would be useful for those who wished to compare asset managers easily.

“I’m putting my faith and hope with the PRI reporting framework – in the sense that, when the asset managers are reporting in a comparable way, we have [a] big responsibility to go and actually check the reports and make our decisions partially based on that information as well,” she said.

“The comparability, the accountability – those are critical issues, and they will make our lives easier.”

She also noted that Ilmarinen did not view sustainable investing as separate from investing as a whole, and that therefore good days saw the sustainable investment team consist of all of the mutual’s in-house portfolio managers.

“The portfolio managers are the ones who know the companies the best, so there is no point in having a list of [companies] ‘approved by Anna’, or something like that,” she said.

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