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State Street Global Advisors signs up to UN Principles for Responsible Investment

$2trn fund giant is the latest major firm to back PRI

State Street Global Advisors, the asset management arm of US custody giant State Street, has become the latest major financial institution to sign up to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

“The act of signing the PRI underscores our existing efforts to integrate ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] into our investment process, asset stewardship activities and throughout our organization,” said Rick Lacaille, SSGA’s Global Chief Investment Officer.

“We believe that our overall approach to ESG, including adherence to the PRI, helps SSGA in our overriding goal of meeting our clients’ needs.”

SSGA’s backing of the initiative follows that of other major institutional investment firms – most recently Wellington Management Co. which signed up last month.

Other so-called “mainstream” asset management firms to have signed up include fixed income giant PIMCO, Capital Group, Goldman Sachs Asset Management and T. Rowe Price.

SSGA’s ESG assets under management grew by almost 40% to $119bn the end of 2010, according to State Street’s most recent annual corporate responsibility report firm Northern Trust recently said it plans to introduce a set of passively managed environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment solutions to clients and prospects this year. It is revealed it is assessing ESG index providers and plans to introduce a “suite of passive solutions” to the market as it looks to integrate the PRI.

“Our approach to ESG helps SSGA to meet client needs”

SSGA runs a programme called the State Street Global Alliance alongside Dutch pension fund manager APG Investments which invests in innovative asset management firms.

The five firms in the alliance – emerging markets specialist Rexiter, absolute returns firm SSARIS, venture capital player Shott Capital, real estate firm Tuckerman and healthcare manager Sectoral Asset Management – have a combined $19.7bn under management.

SSGA’s parent company State Street Corporation has a total of $23.2trn in assets under custody and administration.