Pensions Caixa commits to role as active indirect shareholder

Spain’s €5bn Pensions Caixa 30 plans to become an active indirect shareholder – fulfilling one of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment – upon completion of a three-year assessment of its portfolio.

Antoni Canals, chairman of the board of trustees, told IPE the defined contribution (DC) fund decided several years ago that its then “limited” socially responsible investment (SRI) needed to make way for a “comprehensive” global policy.

“We felt having 3-5% of our portfolio dedicated to SRI investments was no longer the right way to address this space,” he told October’s How We Run Our Money.

“In 2010, we asked an external provider to create an environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating of our portfolio, and we are now approaching the end of the three-year assessment period of the project to see how the evolution of the SRI portfolio has affected returns and other things.

“Following this exercise, we will start looking for providers that have the scope to engage with the managers of our funds.”

The fund – pension provider to the employees of La Caixa and the eight other financial institutions to merge with the savings bank since 2010 – currently invests almost all its assets through funds of funds.

Canals argued that it would be “beyond the skills” of any single asset manager – VidaCaixa in this instance – to manage a globally diversified portfolio from Barcelona.

Discussing the fund’s future approach to engagement, he added: “We aim to become active indirect shareholders, thereby fulfilling the second principle of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.”

For more on Pensions Caixa 30, see How We Run Our Money in the current issue of IPE.

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