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Geeta Aiyer wins ballot for PRI Advisory Council asset manager position; governance review vote planned for January

Majority of available PRIAC positions elected uncontested.

Geeta Aiyer, President and Founder of Boston Common Asset Management, the RI specialist funds house, has been voted on to the PRI Advisory Council for the investment manager position beating three other candidates in the PRI’s annual signatory election.
Aiyer won out by what the PRI said was a clear percentage majority of the votes cast in the only openly elected position for the Advisory Council. She came in ahead of Tim Creed, Managing Director, Adveq Management, the private equity house, Julia Prescot, Chief Strategy Officer at Meridiam, the infrastructure manager, and Philippe Zaouati, CEO at Mirova, the sustainable asset manager.

In the other positions that were up for renewal for the 16-strong Advisory Council, most of the candidates were elected unchallenged because of a lack of competition for the positions, which are allocated according to investor type and geography.
In the election of two asset owner Council members, Mark Chaloner, Assistant Director (Investments), West Midlands Pension Fund was automatically appointed for his first term, and Priya Mathur, Vice President, Board of Administration at CalPERS, qualified for straight re-election after RI revealed that a third candidate, Eric Loiselet, Member of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Investment Policy Monitoring Committee at France’s €20bn ERAFP pension fund had dramatically pulled out of the election campaign when he failed to get backing from the fund’s board for his candidacy.
The withdrawal exposed a loophole in the PRI election process whereby a candidate did not have to show clear and unambiguous support from their organisation before being accepted on to the ballot, which has since been tightened.A number of other investors also automatically qualified for roles. Renosi Mokate, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at the Government Employees Pension Fund in South Africa (GEPF) was elected unopposed for the Africa/Middle East asset owner position. Similarly, Luciane Ribeiro, CEO, Santander Brazil AM, had no challenge for re-election to the Emerging Markets investment manager position. Marcel Barros, Executive Director of Benefits at PREVI, Brazil’s biggest pension fund, was unopposed for re-election to the South America asset owner position. Martin Skancke, Chair of the PRI Advisory Council, said: “I am pleased to welcome Geeta, Mark and Renosi to the Advisory Council and look forward to working with them and all of the Council members over the next three years as the PRI continues to implement new initiatives that will benefit our signatories across the globe.”
The current PRI governance structure can be seen here
The PRI has carried out a comprehensive review of that structure after it was hit by the departure of eight Danish pension funds from its ranks. The schemes, including DKK600bn(€80bn) Danish pension giant ATP, left over concerns about how the organisation was run. The PRI has presented its recommendations to signatories, chief of which is a proposal to eliminate the Advisory Council and create a single but expanded Association Board whose members would be directly elected by signatories. This would replace its current multi-tier board structure, which the organisation has itself described as “complex”.
The PRI is expected to send a second communication on the next steps for the governance review and revised articles of association to signatories this week for their consideration ahead of a final vote in January.

Read Geeta Aiyer’s candidacy statement