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UN pension fund seeks $200k budget for external RI consultant

Hire of dedicated RI staff member vetoed.

The $36.6bn (€25bn) United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) has requested just over $200,000 in budget to pay for a consultant to help implement a responsible investment programme after the appointment of a dedicated internal investment officer for RI was rejected by its general assembly. The fund said the consultant would develop “responsible investing language and requirements” as well as review existing proxy voting services. The UNJSPF – a signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment – had sought to boost its internal investment staff following a decision against the outsourcing of investment management operations, leaving 90% of scheme assets run in-house. The assembly’s budget committee approved just five of a requested 14 positions at a vote before Christmas. The move came despite an internal UN report saying there are “fundamentally unsound andpotentially dangerous” levels of staffing in the UNJSPF’s investment department. The fund began the process of the process of establishing a policy on responsible investment and defining a plan to implement it in 2008. It aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance criteria into its investment analysis and decision-making process. The fund’s Investment Management Service was initially asked to implement the initiative “from within existing staff capacity”. The UNJSPF said in its most recent budget submission that it would “direct the projects with the goal of adopting environmental, social and governance policies that are consistent with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the Global Compact, without compromising the four investment criteria of safety, profitability, liquidity and convertibility”.