Robert F. Kennedy human rights organisation builds fiduciary duty/long-term investments lobby arm

RFK Center hires ex-Milken director, Betsy Ziedman, to lead the push into finance.

The Washington D.C based Robert F. Kennedy Center (RFK Center) for Justice and Human Rights has taken a major step into active lobby work in the area of pension fund fiduciary duty, long-term returns and issues such as human rights, social justice, the environment and economic development, by appointing a full-time director under its new Compass Program. The RFK Center has hired Betsy Zeidman, former Director of the Center for Emerging Domestic Markets (CEDM) and a Senior Research Fellow at the Milken Institute, to lead the Compass Program. Zeidman also managed the Milken Institute’s work in mission-related investing, developmental and environmental finance. Staffing of the RFK Center’s initiative follows an initial conference that took place in July last year when a number of the largest US and Canadian pension plans, including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the Florida State Board of Administration and the North Carolina Retirement Systems, attended a conference on fiduciary duty and rights issues at the Kennedy Compound in Cape Cod.Speaking to, Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and President of the RFK Center, said extending its work into investment reflected the values of Robert F. Kennedy and the Center to look at the broad impacts on human rights and social issues and how to address them: in this case where financial markets have influence. Amongst other things, she said the Compass Program would look at pension fund/fiduciary trustee information and training on ESG issues.
Orin Kramer, chair of the RFK Center and head of New York-based hedge fund, Boston Provident Partners, is helping Kennedy drive the build up of the Compass Program. Until recently Kramer was also chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council, the oversight board for the state’s public pension system. The RFK Center was founded in 1968 by family and friends of Robert F. Kennedy in his memory. It supports human rights work, education and information globally.