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NAPF blasts managers for not taking part in stewardship project

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The UK’s National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has seen a further six asset managers sign up to its stewardship framework, joining the 51 managers already taking part.

The NAPF launched its Stewardship Disclosure Framework last autumn as it looked to foster engagement and transparency between pension funds and those who manage institutional money.

Since its inception, and with the further six asset managers announced, a total of 57 firms have signed up to the framework.

The framework, which is set alongside the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Stewardship Codes, sees managers publish their activities and voting habits, increasing transparency to current and prospective pension fund clients.

Some 57 managers – which have either completed or have committed to completing the framework – now represent more than £13trn (€16trn) of assets under management.

Joanne Segars, chief executive at the NAPF, said the fact 51 asset managers had already completed the framework, and with six more committing to do so, was a huge step forwards in only four months.

“This is a huge step towards ensuring pension funds can readily understand and compare the stewardship approach taken by investment managers,” she said.

However, she raised concerns over the fact that 15 asset managers signed up the FRC’s Stewardship Code but were yet to commit to completing the lobby group’s disclosure framework.

She called on the remaining managers to do so, questioning their commitment to engaging with pension funds and improving transparency.

“A number of signatories of the Stewardship Code have yet to complete a framework,” she said.

“Inevitably, this raises questions about their willingness to give transparency in this crucial area.

“With pension schemes like those sponsored by BT, Barclays, British Airways, Marks & Spencer, Nationwide and Whitbread having signed up to the Stewardship Code, it is hard to imagine why an asset manager would not want to disclose their stewardship credentials to existing and future clients.”

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