Huge investor coalition demands bribery policy clarity from 21 major companies

Defence and construction sectors under particular focus.

A coalition of 20 pension fund investors and fund managers with assets of $1.7 trillion – all signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment – is pressuring major companies, notably in the defence and construction sectors, to reveal their management policies on bribery and corruption. The campaign follows a slew of recent cases involving large multinationals and alleged kickbacks.
Last week, BHP Billiton, the Australian mining group, announced it was under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over possible violations of anti-corruption laws involving interactions with government officials. The company said it was co-operating with the investigation. The investor campaign said it had contacted 21 major companies in the defence, construction and other sectors in 14 countries to reveal the measures they have in place to avoid bribery and corruption in business with their suppliers.The companies targeted by the investor campaign were not named. The campaign is being led by some of the world’s biggest pension fund groups including US giant CalSTRS, Sweden’s AP government buffer pension funds, Swiss foundation Ethos, The New Zealand Superannuation Fund and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors. Supporting asset managers include F&C Asset Management, APG Asset Management and Hermes.
They have asked the companies to explain whether their anti-corruption management systems adhere to international reporting frameworks developed by the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and the United Nations Global Compact.
George Dallas, director of corporate governance at F&C, said: “As investors we believe that bribery and corruption are incompatible with good corporate governance and harmful to the creation of value.”