UK - The responsible investment charity FairPensions has launched an aggressive campaign against the UK government's proposed changes to the Myners principles, branding them as "regressive" and likely to prove a failure.

Commenting on the paper Updating the Myners principles: a consultation issued by HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and The Pensions Regulator (tPR), FairPensions finds that trustee standards have not improved, as was previously claimed, and that a less detailed approach to the principles would be detrimental.

FairPensions said that the Government's general approach is mistaken, arguing that the principles should be updated but should be kept at about their present level of detail.

Earlier this year, the government launched 56-page review document of the corporate governance principles applied to UK pension funds and trustees, taking  all of the proposals set out last year by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) that concluded trustee standards have in fact improved.

The updated principles are said to be designed to provide more flexibility for different types of schemes in terms of their size, financial position and strategy, proposing a system of self regulation, which according to FairPensions "is likely to prove a failure".

The charity argues that it has conducted surveys showing that current implementation of the principles in relation to engagement and transparency is much poorer than is suggested by the NAPF Report.

Moreover, the proposed changes to the principles relating to explicit mandates, shareholder activism, regular reporting and transparency "would amount to a significant dilution and are generally regressive."

Also, "the proposed Investment Governance Group should contain representatives of pension scheme members and/or civil society."

HM Treasury, which has been tasked to comment on the review, was not immediately available for comment.

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