A group of influential UK pension investors have developed a reporting tool to help them and other asset owners meet their responsible investment and stewardship requirements “efficiently and effectively”.
The pension funds worked with Chronos Sustainability, a consultancy, on the tool, which focuses on reporting obligations linked to the reporting and assessment framework for the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the Stewardship Code and implementation statements in the UK.
It maps the reporting requirements against each other, allowing users to identify elements of one set of reporting requirements that could meet another, and providing a checklist of requirements.
The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) was one of the pension funds involved in developing the tool, alongside Brunel Pension Partnership, BT Pension Scheme, the Church of England Pensions Board and RPMI Railpen.
All are members of a “Responsible Investment Roundtable,” an initiative that brings together some of the UK’s largest asset owners.
In a post on the USS website, David Russell, head of responsible investment at the scheme’s in-house investment manager, and Rory Sullivan, CEO of Chronos, highlighted the benefits of and need for good stewardship and responsible investment reporting by asset owners.
However, pension funds needed to ensure that the time and resources committed were “well spent”, they said.
According to USS, its draft PRI submission alone is almost 350 pages, and it needed to hire a consultant to help it complete its Stewardship Code report.
Russell and Sullivan also noted that the work on the tool and investors’ experiences showed that although there were some efficiencies to be gained, they were not many relative to the volume of material being reported.
“We found that the details of the reporting requirements – essentially a survey in the case of the PRI compared to a free-standing report for, say, the Stewardship Code – mean that while there are some commonalities on data and indicators, there is inevitably a large amount of additional writing and text editing involved in preparing submissions,” they wrote.
They explained that the investors intended to use the reporting tool to explore the potential for consolidating reporting requirements, and for a reduced reporting burden on asset owners, for example whereby leading organisations would only report biannually rather than annually.
On LinkedIn, Victoria Barron, head of sustainable investment of BT Pension Scheme, explained that the pension fund had supported the development of the tool “to make sense of the increasing regulation and calls for information”.
“We hope [it] helps others navigate the current landscape and will lead to refining requests posed to asset owners,” she wrote.
The tool can be downloaded here.