The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has today (Weds) published a Stewardship Disclosure Framework.
This new Framework aims to provide pension funds with greater transparency around the stewardship policies and activities of the 206 asset managers who are signatories to the UK Stewardship Code.
To that end, the NAPF is inviting all the asset manager signatories to the Stewardship Code to complete and return the Framework, which is based around the seven Principles of the Stewardship Code.
The completed Frameworks will provide for the first time an ‘at a glance’ comparison between the approaches of different asset managers. They will be made publicly available in a dedicated section of the NAPF website - ‘Stewardship Central’. These web pages will be a useful resource to pension fund trustees and their advisers to enable them to have better oversight of their agents.
The new Framework - and other tools developed by the NAPF, including monthly topical questions - aims to enable pension funds better to understand the stewardship approaches of current and prospective asset managers in order that they can select those which most appropriately meet their own expectations and policies.
Mark Hyde Harrison, NAPF Chairman, said:
“The Stewardship Disclosure Framework is a powerful tool which provides a simple way for pension funds to see how asset managers apply their stewardship responsibilities. It will be invaluable both when funds are assessing prospective managers and when they are holding their current managers to account for how their funds are being managed on their behalf.
“The Framework allows managers to demonstrate their commitment to good stewardship. I am delighted to announce that JP Morgan, Aviva, Newton and LGIM have already completed the Framework, and their submissions can be viewed at our Stewardship Central website. We hope to see many more asset managers completing the Framework in the coming weeks and will be reporting on progress at our Investment Conference in March.”
Vince Cable, Business Secretary, said:
"In our response to the Kay review we challenged business and the investment industry to develop and promote good practice in stewardship. A commitment to stewardship on the part of investors is critical to the long-term success of UK companies. NAPF's Framework is an important contribution in meeting that challenge. I hope it will lead to improved dialogue between asset owners and asset managers about what good stewardship looks like."
Iain Wright, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Industry, said:
"I welcome the publication of the Stewardship Disclosure Framework. Increasing transparency will help to improve the quality of decision making and help pension fund trustees in comparing and contrasting the investment behaviours of fund managers. I hope that this will play a role in improving the stewardship of pension funds, upon which millions of people in this country rely for a safe and financially secure retirement."
The NAPF has consistently been a strong supporter of the UK Stewardship Code since its publication by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in July 2010. The Code aims to enhance the quality of engagement between asset managers and companies to help improve long-term returns to shareholders. A growing number of asset owners have signed up to the Stewardship Code since its introduction and the NAPF encourages others to follow suit. The NAPF believes that a greater weight of pension fund signatories to the Code will further influence behavioural changes that lead to better stewardship by asset managers and companies.
The NAPF published its first Stewardship Policy and Principles for Stewardship Best Practice in November 2012. The NAPF Stewardship Policy gives pension funds a clear roadmap of how they can address their stewardship responsibilities. It sets out six best practice principles that the NAPF encourages its members to consider. These include having a policy on stewardship, setting relevant criteria for manager searches, and the incorporation of monitoring of stewardship activities into manager reviews.
Notes to editors:
The NAPF is the leading voice of workplace pensions in the UK. We speak for 1,300 pension schemes with some 16 million members and assets of around £900 billion. NAPF members also include over 400 businesses providing essential services to the pensions sector.
The NAPF Stewardship Central pages are here – http://www.napf.co.uk/stewardship
Dee Sullivan, Head of Media and PR, (interim), 020 7601 1717 or 07917 506 683, [email protected]
Aimee Savage Richards, Press Officer (interim), 020 7601 1718 or 07825 171 446, [email protected]