Old Mutual signs up to UN Principles for Responsible Investment

Venerable firm will seek to integrate ESG into mandates

Old Mutual, the FTSE-listed international finance group whose asset management arm has £284.2bn (€349.7bn) in funds under management, has become the latest major firm to become a signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

The company, which traces its origins to 1845 in South Africa, where it still has a stock exchange listing, said the move reflects its commitment to sustainability and its role as a provider of long-term savings, protection and investment products.

It continued: “Responsible investing aims to ensure greater consideration of long-term environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues by asset owners (such as pension funds and insurers), as well as investment managers through the life cycle of an investment transaction.” The PRI provides an important “voluntary and aspirational framework” it added.

“Investing is core for Old Mutual and, as a responsible business, we have a duty to invest responsibly,” said Group Chief Executive Julian Roberts.

Old Mutual said that, as an asset owner, it would work closely with its service providers to integrate ESG factors into its investment mandates.And its own asset management arm will also “work towards” including material ESG factors into investment and ownership activities. Its Old Mutual Investment Group SA recently published its Responsible Investment Guidelines.

Old Mutual’s decision to back the PRI comes as changes to South Africa’s “Regulation 28” pension fund requirements and the launch of the Code for Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA) have seen responsible investing rise up the agenda in its country of origin.

“We have a duty to invest responsibly”

PRI Executive Director James Gifford welcomed Old Mutual to the initiative. He added: “We are seeing more and more large institutions with a dual role of asset owner and investment manager sign up and make real progress in responsible investment.”

Meanwhile, Old Mutual has named Paul Feeney as the new CEO of its £63bn Wealth Management business.