The private body behind the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has said it is “deeply disappointed” six Danish pension funds are leaving the organisation in protest at the way it is being run.
The PRI insisted it took governance seriously and was committed to improving.
On Friday, Denmark’s DKK600bn (€80.4bn) statutory pension fund ATP and five of the country’s other major pension funds said they were delisting from the PRI organisation because of a number of governance problems — but would still follow the principles themselves.
ATP criticised PRI for a lack of democracy and transparency, which it said stemmed from a move by the organisation in 2010-11 to alter its constitution without involving members.
Since then, investors affiliated with the PRI had ceased to be members of the organisation and the original annual general meeting had been abolished, it said.
PRI managing director, Fiona Reynolds said: “The PRI is deeply disappointed this has occurred.”
At its annual Signatory General Meeting in Cape Town in September, the PRI committed to undertake a review of its governance, she said.
“The Council’s governance committee has already begun to define the scope of this review, which will be led by a new council chair expected to be appointed in early 2014,” Reynolds said.
She said the PRI advisory council was democratically elected by signatories and made up of representatives from all three categories of signatory and regions of the world.
Council members appoint the directors of the PRI association board, who oversee the work of the PRI Secretariat, she said.
“The council and the board take governance seriously and are committed to continued improvements,” Reynolds said.
The PRI organisation’s leaders had previously arranged to meet with the Danish signatories in Copenhagen on 13 January, adding that the PRI planned to continue with the meeting and hoped all of the funds concerned would attend.
“Given the important work of the Danish pension funds in responsible investment, we hope the funds concerned will reconsider their decision at some point in the near future,” she said.