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US manager SEI hires F&C in fiduciary/multi-manager ESG overlay move

F&C awaits vote on Friends Provident demerger.

SEI, the US fund manager that specialises in fiduciary and multi-manager investment, has hired F&C, the UK asset manager, to run an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lobbying service on the funds it sells to UK and European clients. The manager said the engagement service would target ‘prominent’ corporate holdings held in its Dublin registered SEI Equity Funds and had been launched in response to the rising importance of corporate governance for pension fund trustees. SEI, which has European offices in London, Dublin and the Netherlands, will use F&C’s Responsible Engagement Overlay (REO) service to lobby companies where they fall short on corporate governance, social and environmental standards. Globally, SEI administers $354bn in mutual fund and pooled assets and manages $123bn in assets.
SEI said its manager-of-managers investment process using pooled funds meant that engagement could beexecuted consistently across all its funds in contrast to what it said was a “piecemeal process” often experienced by pension funds engaging as shareholders individually. Patrick Disney, managing director of SEI’s institutional business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said:” At SEI we believe that a key part of our duties as a fiduciary manager involves the ability to offer an appropriate level of governance covering environmental, social and corporate governance issues. We were attracted to an engagement process because it allows for improved governance without compromising the choice of our managers or their stock selection in any way.”
F&C Asset Management, a noted proponent of responsible investment, is currently awaiting a June 12 vote by shareholders in its owner, Friends Provident, that would see it de-merge from the parent. If approved, the spin-out is expected to be concluded on July 3. F&C will continue to run assets for Friends Provident.