Hermes sets up asset ownership services subsidiary

New company founded by BT Pension Scheme’s manager

Hermes Fund Managers Ltd., the asset manager owned by the £34.1bn (€41.4bn) BT Pension Scheme, has set up a new UK-based subsidiary called Hermes Asset Ownership Services Ltd.
The new company will be based at Hermes’ London headquarters in Portsoken Street. It was incorporated on August 11, according to a filing with Companies House, the official UK government register of firms. There is one director so far listed, Hermes’ legal director Michelle Green. Hermes’ corporate spokesperson did not provide any further details.
It’s not immediately clear how the new arrival will sit alongside Hermes Equity Ownership Services, the arm which helps institutional investors as active owners of companies. The launch comes in the context of the UK’s new Stewardship Code, where the onus will increasingly be on investors to monitor their investee companies.

Hermes and UK pension schemes USS and Railpencaused surprise in the UK institutional community last month when it emerged they had written to directors of FTSE 350 companies encouraging them to explain and opt-out rather than comply with new guidelines on the annual re-election of board directors.
Hermes EOS was set up in 2004 and now has 19 clients globally with over £60bn assets under advice.
As well as being owned by the BTPS, Hermes manages around 53% of its assets. In 2009, Hermes EOS engaged with 330 companies on behalf of BTPS.
The BTPS, for its part, says in its latest annual report that its aims to increase to two-thirds the proportion of the scheme covered by an active sustainable investing process – reflecting the tenets of the United nations Principles for Responsible Investment, of which it was a founding signatory. It also says it has committed £375m “in the renewable energy space”.