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Unison awards SRI mandate

UK - Unison's Staff Pension Scheme has awarded its £140m (€195m) socially responsible investment equity portfolio mandate to Standard Life Investments.

The portfolio will include a socially responsible investment and engagement overlay, consistent with the pension fund's SRI policy, and will be 60% invested in UK equities.

Helen Driver, investment director of UK equities at Standard Life Investments, will manage the UK investments, while Esther Perkins, investment director of global equities, will be responsible for the 40% allocation to overseas equities.

The appointment followed a comprehensive tendering and evaluation process involving a number of investment houses, and the aim is for each asset class to outperform its relative benchmarks, the FTSE All Share and the MSCI World ex-UK, by 2% pa, said David Limb, chair of the trustees of the Unison Staff Pension Scheme.

Julie McDowell, head of SRI at Standard Life Investments, said: "In this case, we are implementing specific screening criteria which exclude investment in tobacco and defence companies as well as companies that play a significant role in Private Finance Initiatives in the UK health and education sectors.

"Unison is also keenly interested in engagement with companies on SRI issues, in particular on supporting principles and rights at work and these are all elements we are incorporating within their investment remit," she added.

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