Belgian funds ‘forced into SRI investing’

BELGIUM – Public authorities in Brussels must invest “at least” 10% of their pension schemes in socially responsible investment under new orders approved by government.

According to Dexia Asset Management’s quarterly newsletter on sustainable and responsible investment, the Brussels parliament approved a draft order on May 12 aimed at introducing criteria related to social responsibility and the financial dealings of public authorities.

“Henceforth, all public authorities in Brussels, namely region, para-regional bodies, inter-communal organisations, communes and so on must invest at least 10% of their pension funds in SRI.

“Moreover, they must also justify their choice of investment on an annual basis,” said Dexia in a newsletter.

IPE had difficulty gaining commentary on the matter across the Belgian pensions industry and government. Several market experts were either unwilling or unavailable for comment, or did not respond to requests for comment.

On May 2, Dexia AM signed the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment. To date, some 60 institutional investors and asset management companies representing roughly $4bn have signed in favour of environmental, social and governance criteria in financial management, said Dexia.

As at 31 December 2005, Dexia AM had an 11% market share in the European SRI fund market.

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