Simon Fraser, the ex-Fidelity investment chief and new chair of the Investor Forum – the body charged with improving investor-corporate dialogue in the UK – has said ESG analysis is not effectively tied into core investment decision processes by investors, as the full board of the Forum as well as its objectives were unveiled yesterday (October 27). Speaking at an event to mark the UK government’s progress on implementing the Kay Review of UK equity markets and short-termism, Fraser announced the aims of the Forum, which was one of Kay’s key recommendations. He said it would initially be sponsored by the Investment Management Association (IMA), but planned to be an independent company. Its board comprises, Professor John Kay, the economist and author, Christ Hitchen, chief executive of the Railways Pension Trustee Company and Virginia Holmes, chair of USS Investment Management. Fraser said he was delighted by the calibre of board members who represent major players in the investment chain. He said the Investor Forum would also represent international investors and would strive to “position stewardship and long-termism at the heart of investment decision-making”. He noted the growth of the ESG movement but said, however, that too often ESG analysis was not tied into core investment decision-making processes. Fraser said these goals were even more important as more money flowed to index funds. He added that more dialogue was needed between governance and ESG teams at investment firms.
Helena Morrisey, Chair of the IMA, said the group believed firmly in long-termism. She said that the investment management industry needed to reinforce its position in society as adding value to real people: “We need fund managers to be trusted advisers like doctors or dentists.”
The Investor Forum’s key objectives are to make the case for long-term investment approaches and create an effective model for collective engagement with UK companies. It released a discussion paper to mark its launch.The group has backing from the UK government. Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “The Investor Forum, recommend by Professor Kay, has a vital role to play in shifting the culture of equity markets to support public companies contribution to sustainable long-term growth. We now need to see it deliver on its objectives and build a critical mass of long-term investors who place stewardship at the heart of their investment strategies.”
The Forum’s board comprises:
Simon Fraser – Chairman, former Chief Investment Officer of Fidelity Worldwide Investment who currently chairs Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust
Andy Griffiths – Executive Director, former Senior Vice President at US fund management giant Capital Group and deputy head of research with Prudential M&G Investment Management
Edward Bonham Carter – Vice Chairman, Jupiter Asset Management
Mark Burgess – Chief Investment Officer, Threadneedle Investments
Daniel Godfrey – Chief Executive, Investment Management Association
Chris Hitchen – Chief Executive, Railways Pension Trustee Company Ltd.
Virginia Holmes – Chair, USS Investment Management Ltd.
Professor John Kay CBE, FBA, FRSE – Economist and Author
Ida Levine – Director and Senior Counsel, Capital International Limited (part of the Capital Group)
David Lis – Chief Investment Officer, Equities and Multi Assets, Aviva Investors
Nicholas Moakes – Managing Director, Investment Division, The Wellcome Trust
Anne Richards CVO – Global Chief Investment Officer, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC
Sacha Sadan – Director of Corporate Governance, Legal & General Investment Management
Robert Swannell – Chairman, Marks & Spencer plc
Lindsay Tomlinson – Non-Executive Director, Legal & General Group plc