UK - Shadow pensions minister Nigel Waterson has called for the creation of an ethical fund as part of the proposed personal accounts pension system.

The Conservative Party MP pledged on Monday that the introduction of an ethical fund within the proposed personal accounts scheme would be “swiftly dealt with” under a Conservative government. His comments were made to attendees of a discussion organised by campaign group FairPensions.

The Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) is currently in the process of investigating possible fund inclusions, and those so far examined have included funds focusing on social, environmental and ethical issues, as well as one said to be “religious compliant”.

During Monday’s discussion, Waterson also criticised the amount of regulation the pension sector has to contend with, and added: “Here in the UK it is not that the pensions sector has suffered from a shortage of regulation. It has had a huge and continuing wave, tsunami after tsunami, of regulation.”

Commenting on environmental and social governance matters, Monday’s discussion also saw Waterson highlight the importance of action in the area of climate-conscious investments. “There is nothing airy-fairy about it, it makes hard business sense.”

That said, he said he also felt the UK was falling behind in terms of transparency and accountability in corporate governance.

“There are huge variations in the degrees of transparency that [companies] all exercise in their own ways. I think there will be increasing international pressure to establish a degree of transparency across the board.”

Results of PADA’s research into possible investment funds for the new defined contribution scheme are expected to be published next month.

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