The organisation that runs the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is planning to appoint an external, independent adviser to help with the process of reviewing the PRI’s governance.

The adviser will work alongside the PRI Advisory Council’s governance committee and the new Council chair in carrying out the review.

The intention to carry out a formal review of the PRI’s governance structure and processes was agreed by the Council and Board at their joint meeting in Cape Town on 30 September 2013.

This was announced at the PRI’s signatory meeting the next day, and in a letter to all signatories in late October.

However, the decision to appoint an independent adviser follows the exit last December of eight Danish signatories from the PRI organisation over governance concerns.

The decision was made at a joint meeting of the PRI Advisory Council and PRI Association Board.

The PRI Advisory Council’s governance committee – chaired by Priya Mathur, board member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) – will work with the Advisory Council to finalise the scope for the governance review and request for tender by the end of January.

PRI signatories will have an opportunity to provide input into scope.

The review process will be overseen by the governance committee until a new Council chair is appointed, expected by the end of March.

Fiona Reynolds, managing director at PRI, said improving and adapting the PRI’s governance processes to ensure it meets the needs of signatories remains a priority for the organisation.

“Strong and effective governance is the foundation upon which all of the PRI’s work and success ultimately rests,” she said.

“The PRI recognises that, as it calls on investors globally to drive improvements in the governance of companies and markets, it must set an example and match the levels of accountability and transparency it expects of its signatories.”

She added: “The PRI is committed to ensuring this review is carried out to the highest standards of independence, impartiality, transparency and accountability, and that its finding and recommendations – along with any subsequent changes to PRI governance as a result of the review – are clear, practical, understood and supported by signatories via our decision-making processes.”

The PRI will update signatories on the status of the governance review in April, following the next joint meeting of the Advisory Council and Board in London.

Updates on the progress of the review will be published on the governance page of the PRI website as they become available.