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Over half of respondents to first Eurosif corporates pension fund survey have RI policy

A quarter of non RI funds say they will adopt a policy in next 12 months.

Just over half of corporate pension funds (94 in number) responding to a first Europe-wide survey by the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif) say they now have a responsible investment policy with 60% (102) saying that ESG factors could affect the long-term performance of the fund. Corporate pension funds in 12 European countries were approached for the survey, which resulted in a total of 169 responses. Interestingly, a high number of corporate pension funds (111 or 66%) said that having an SRI policy is part of their fiduciary duty. Eurosif says this suggests a number of funds are, in their own estimation, not fulfilling their fiduciary duty. The most important ESG factor among the surveyed corporate pension funds was governance, followed by social and then environmental criteria. For those funds with an RI policy 58 of the 94 respondents (62%) said they delegate it to fund managers, while 46 (49%) manage it in-house. Only 16 respondents said they used engagement overlay or proxy voting service providers. Equities and bonds, along with real estate, are the most popular asset classes for the implementation ofcorporate pension fund SRI policies. Conversely, commodities, a topical asset class, are covered by only 7% of the survey respondents. The study said the three instruments most commonly used by corporate funds for SRI policy implementation are voting, negative screening and integration, albeit with country variations. Voting is widespread among Spanish, Dutch, and British, funds, while negative screening is frequently used in Austria, Spain, and Sweden. Engagement is most common in Austria, the UK, and the Netherlands. For those funds without an SRI policy recurring reasons listed included risk and performance concerns, unfamiliarity with the topic of responsible investment and a lack of resources to create, implement and monitor a policy. These funds were also asked if they are planning on implementing an SRI policy in the near future. Of the 68 respondents to the question, 16 (24%) say they plan to do so within the next twelve months. Eurosif’s 2011 Corporate Pension Funds & Sustainable Investment Study can be downloaded at: Link