Do investment managers have principles?

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The UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) was recently asked to comment on a report, linked to the Financial Times, that some prominent fund managers were reluctant to declare their support for a newly published ‘Statement of Principles'.

The Investment Association, which claims to represent over 200 UK investment managers who manage more than £5 trillion for clients around the world, wants all investment managers to sign up to its set of principles. It wants them to be applied so that members of pension schemes and other “ultimate beneficiaries” of collective investments are given the same consideration as clients with which they have a direct, legal relationship. It further expects them to set out on their websites how they will be applied and confirm this “on an annual basis”.

Ignites Europe, a Financial Times service, found some fund managers still reluctant to commit to the principles three months after publication, including Fidelity, State Street Global Advisors and Woodford Investment Management. It was completely unable to discover why Aberdeen, M&G, PIMCO, Schroders, BNY Mellon, Jupiter, Investec and Standard Life had not signed up. UKSA’s comment was, “It is imperative that those entrusted with other people’s money behave in accordance with the kind of principles set out by the Investment Association (and) it is astonishing that some are reluctant to say that they do.”