NETHERLANDS – The 14 billion-euro pension fund for the Dutch metals industry, Metalektro or PME, has appointed Isis Asset Management to manage a voting and socially responsible overlay programme.

The two organisations said in a joint release that Isis would run a governance and SRI engagement overlay on the Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds Metalektro’s worldwide equity portfolios. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Isis would also apply its REO – “responsible engagement overlay” - programme to PME's equity portfolio over and above the share voting service.

"Pension schemes are significant shareholders and cannot act as absentee landlords,” said Roland van den Brink, managing director investments of PME.

“The Netherlands has one of the most developed pension fund industries in Europe, and as such should be pioneering a robust approach to governance and SRI.”

He said that voting had been delegated to external asset managers – though there was “no coherence in policy and subsequent reporting”.

He said the Isis service “complements rather than impedes our fund management activities”.

“It enables us to be active and responsible shareholders with a clear and coherent strategy towards companies across all of our funds,” he said, citing Isis’ resources and expertise.

The Schiphol-based fund earlier this month disclosed that it returned 13% in 2003.

Michel Bernard, Isis’s director of institutional funds, said: "We are delighted that PME has chosen to use our overlay approach, REO. We believe that REO is a sound proposition for pension funds, providing them with a long-term engagement solution on governance, environmental and social issues.

Bernard added: "We find that Continental European funds are showing increasing interest in our approach to governance and engagement.”