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UK’s NAPF says performance, not SRI, is key

UK – The National Association of Pension Funds says pension fund performance is more important that socially responsible criteria.

“Our main concern is – and must remain – the performance of pension fund investments, so as many people as possible can continue to benefit from well-managed, well-funded pension schemes when they retire,” said NAPF chief executive Christine Farnish.

Speaking at a lecture organised by SRI firm UK Social Investment Forum at the London School of Economics, she said: “‘Caring’ is something which I do as a private individual. Pension funds, on the other hand, have clear legal duties to discharge on behalf of their members.

“Political preferences, sentiment, and a desire to change the world do not sit easily with those duties. But a long term view of investment in successful and law abiding businesses does.”

She said the NAPF believes that all company boards should develop their own policies on corporate social responsibility which they should disclose to investors.

“Similarly,” she added, “the NAPF believes that socially responsible investment should be seen as an integral part of the normal investment management process: but only to the extent that it encompasses matters which the board needs to address to be a successful business and comply with the law.”

Meanwhile, the new Pension Protection Fund has issued an 18-page guidance note about undertaking its risk-based levy, which will apply from April next year.

Elsewhere, the £20bn (€29.4bn) Universities Superannuation Scheme has advertised two job vacancies, for a European equities analyst and a trainee for Pacific equities.

“USS Ltd. is a highly successful pension fund that is growing significantly and currently has assets of £20bn,” the ad says.

The European equities analyst will assist in the management of the scheme’s £1.5bn European equities portfolio. The post has a salary of around £35k. The Pacific equities trainee post has a salary of around £25k. Interviews will take place in May.

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