Six Danish pension funds leave UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

Leading asset owners quit over governance concerns.

Six Danish pension fund signatories are leaving the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) over what they say are governance concerns at the initiative.

In a joint statement, Danish pension funds ATP, Industriens Pension, PensionDanmark, PFA, PKA and Sampension said they were quitting over poor governance over a “sustained period” at the London-based body.

“The PRI has an important role to play in promoting responsible investment – including emphasising the importance of good governance in companies around the world,“ the schemes said.

“We have, nonetheless, over a sustained period of time observed that the governance of the PRI does not live up to the basic standards we as investors would expect of the companies in which we invest.

“Despite numerous attempts to improve the conditions within PRI, we must, unfortunately, acknowledge that these attempts have not been successful. Therefore, we have chosen to leave,” they said.

The schemes left the door open to re-entering the PRI, saying that if the organisation re-established its principles of governance that existed before 2010-11, they would return.They charge that during those years, the organisation changed its governance without the involvement or consent of its members.

In any event, the schemes – some of whom like ATP have been with the PRI for many years – said they would continue to be ardent supporters of the PRI’s six principles.

In mid-October, RI reported that the PRI was facing a possible revolt from its members in the Nordic regions over what they claimed was its failure to address concerns about its governance.

RI understands that for now, signatories in other Nordic countries are staying in the organisation.

The PRI was not immediately available for comment. But speaking to RI in October, PRI Managing Director Fiona Reynolds said: “We take the views of all our signatories seriously. PRI is a complex organisation that requires a lot of compromise.

“Since I’ve been here everything that has come from our Nordic signatories has been responded to, and we want to keep that dialogue going.”

Link to recent RI Insight report on Denmark.