British Columbia investment giant hires corporate engagement manager

Canadian investor hires engagement specialist from mutual fund firm

The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, the Victoria-based fund management firm with C$86.9bn (€67.1bn) in assets under management, has hired Northwest & Ethical Investments’ Jennifer Coulson as Manager of Corporate Engagement.
Coulson was previously in a similar role at NEI Investments, the Canadian mutual funds company, which she joined in 2001. She took on her new role at UN Principles for Responsible Investment signatory BCIMC last week. Her role at NEI was to encourage large listed firms to mitigate environmental, social and governance risk and contribute to sustainable development goals.
BCIMC was in the news last month when it joined the legal action against troubled Toronto-listed forestry firm Sino-Forest alongside NEI and pension provider Bâtirente.NEI has been instrumental in the current shareholder campaign to get corporate governance change at the top of Blackberry maker Research in Motion.

Meanwhile, NEI has said it had success or significant progress on more than 40 of the 60 structured dialogues it had with companies in 2011.

Its 2011 environmental, social and governance (ESG) Report is called “ESG in a Time of Turmoil”.

NEI also made 14 policy and standards submissions to governments and regulators on ESG issues ranging from the oil sands of Alberta to conflict zones in Africa. The firm also said it wrote 54 letters to companies outlining its concerns about pay practices. The effort paid off with a series of meetings in the autumn with a variety of Canadian and US companies – “indicating a serious interest in doing compensation better”.