T. Rowe Price signs up to UN Principles for Responsible Investment

Giant “mainstream” US asset manager in ESG move

T. Rowe Price, the venerable Baltimore-based asset management house, has become one of the latest signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment – in another sign that the PRI’s message is being picked up by more “mainstream” US institutions.
Founded in 1937, Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price has $391.1bn (€300bn) in assets under management – $233.5bn in US mutual funds and $157.6bn in other managed investment portfolios. It has offices in 12 countries and more than 4,800 staff.
The firm is joining major US asset managers such as Capital Group International, JPMorgan Asset Management, Legg Mason Asset Management (Australia), Northern Trust Global Investments and Russell Investments in signing up to the PRI. It becomes one of the 429 asset manager signatories – there are now 789 signatories in total.
The company says it already takes into account non-financial risks in its portfolio investmentdecisions, and cites the divestment of companies with links to Sudan from 2007 as an example.
T. Rowe uses a proprietary database for analysing and recording proxy votes as well as a global corporate governance specialist on its investment staff. It uses proxy advisors RiskMetrics Group and Glass Lewis.
T. Rowe’s guidelines for proxy voting reveal, for example, that it is generally FOR the separation of the Chairman and CEO roles and that it reviews shareholder proposals of a social or environmental nature on a case-by-case basis.
Last month it reported that its second quarter net income rose to of $158.5m – well up on the prior year period’s $100m. Earlier this year T. Rowe bought a 26% stake in India’s UTI Asset Management Co. for $142.4m.
Dutch pension funds Rabobank Pensioenfonds and sector pension fund BPF Schilders are also among a slew of new signatories.