The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) welcomed more than 500 new signatories in 2018-19, of which 69 were asset owners, according to the organisation’s latest annual report.

Most of the new asset owner signatories came from the UK (12), followed by the US (11), the Netherlands (eight) and across southern Europe (eight).

Among the new joiners were National Grid’s pension scheme in the UK, AG2R in France, PenSam in Denmark, and the Novartis pension fund in Switzerland.

LGPS Central, one of the new asset pooling entities for the UK’s local government pension scheme, also became a signatory, although at least some of its partner funds were already signatories. DNB in the Netherlands also became the first central bank to sign up to the PRI. 

Net new PRI signatory growth – including asset managers and service providers – was strongest in China, which reached 22 signatories, but there were double-digit increases in Europe, too:

  • Southern Europe: +27% (112 total signatories)
  • UK and Ireland: +22% (394)
  • Benelux: +19% (170)
  • Germany, Austria and Switzerland: +17% (188)
  • Nordics: +16% (204)
  • France: +12% (203)
  • Central and eastern Europe and Eurasia: no change (14)

De Nederlandsche Bank

The head office of Dutch central bank DNB, which was the first central bank to sign up to the PRI

More than 150 entities have joined the PRI since the end of its reporting period on 31 March 2019, according to the organisation’s directory. These included Hessen, the first German federal state to sign up to the principles, and PensionDanmark and Industriens Pension, who rejoined after leaving the organisation in 2013 over governance concerns.

PRI signatories must report on their responsible investment activities annually after a one-year grace period. In 2018-19 the PRI delisted 10 signatories for failing to participate in the reporting and assessment process.

The 2019-20 reporting cycle is the first occasion that signatories can be delisted for failing to meet new standards beyond reporting. A spokesperson for the PRI told IPE that 50 were on the watchlist as of June.

The PRI included updates on a wide range of indicators in its annual report. For example, it showed that in the 2018-19 period fewer signatories set objectives for the majority of activities than in the previous two reporting cycles.

In 2016 and 2018 the proportions stood at 81% and 76%, respectively, for collaborative engagements, versus 72% in the most recent period. For individual engagement activities the change was smaller: from 74% in 2016 and 73% in 2018, down to 70% in 2019.

Another indicator tracked by the PRI was the proportion of signatories engaging with policymakers. This grew from 46% in 2014 to 61% in 2019 for asset owners, and from 39% to 44% for investment managers.

Later this year asset owner signatories will have the opportunity to vote for two PRI board positions, and service providers for one position. Nominations close next week and candidates will be announced next month, with voting to open on 30 September.