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Trustees need help on SRI fund managers – enquiry

UK - Pension trustees should be helped to choose fund managers who have strong records in shareholder activism and performance – that’s one of the findings of a probe into the future of UK investment.

“Retail customers and pension trustees should be helped to in choosing fund managers strong in areas like shareholder activism and long term performance,” said industry-led think tank the Tomorrow's Company.

The team was chaired by former GlaxoSmithKline chairman Sir Richard Sykes. After a year-long consultation involving more than 300 people, Sykes said the financial system faces a lack of trust and a “sense of paralysis”.

The team proposed a set of principles for the investment industry, encompassing openness, customer education and taking ownership seriously.

“Payment and reward for CEOs, fund managers and advisors should be changed where necessary to reflect the priorities of the end user not those of the supplier,” the body added.

“Fund managers should be set clear objectives over longer time scales covering not only financial performance but also the ownership behaviours required of investment intermediaries.”

Sykes, currently rector of London University’s Imperial College, called for a “Hippocratic oath for investment and financial services”.

"We need the whole industry to be clear and open about the way it is going about its business,” Sykes said. “We are in the twenty first century, an age in which business has to be open in the way it listens to its stakeholders.

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