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UN PRI publishes more details on internal governance structure

Membership of high-level committees within organisation

The United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment has published a new document outlining how the initiative is run.

The nine-page ‘Governing the PRI Initiative’ details the role and composition of its advisory council, internal committee membership; it also provides further details about its UK-registered not-for-profit company the PRI Association.

It would appear to be a response to calls from signatories for greater transparency from the PRI, as reported by Responsible Investor in July.

There are three main bodies that oversee the PRI: the 16-member PRI Advisory Council, the seven-member board of PRI Association, and the 45-employee Secretariat.

The Council, which is elected by signatories, comprises nine asset owners, four non-asset owners, two UN representatives and a Chair (Wolfgang Engshuber).

The PRI Association Board has seven members, the majority of whom have to be asset owner representatives. It is responsible for the legal and fiduciary management of the PRI Association and oversight of the Secretariat.

The structure allows UN representatives, who are not permitted to fiduciary boards, to continue to help oversee the PRI.

“The Council, the Board and the Secretariat are confident that this framework, coupled with timely disclosure and communication, will ensure the Initiative remains representative, accountable and responsive to the needs of its signatories,” it says.Day-to-day operations are run by the PRI Secretariat, which is headed by Executive Director James Gifford, a Managing Director (currently being recruited), the Director of Responsible Investment (Rob Lake) and Director of Finance and Operations (Mike Blair). The PRI now has 1,103 signatories, the latest including Austrian funds firm Erste Asset Management.

The PRI Council and Board have established, or are in the process of establishing, committees on Audit & Risk, Membership & Remuneration, Ethics, Governance, Nomination and Election Oversight.

Committee composition:

Audit & Risk: David Russell (Universities Superannuation Scheme) and Glen Saunders (PRI Treasurer)

Membership: Glen Saunders, Daniel Simard (Bâtirente)

Remuneration: Else Bos (PFZW), Engshuber

Ethics: Niels Erik Petersen (CIO Unipension), Simard

Governance: Ann Byrne (CEO, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors), Priya Sara Mathur (CalPERS) and one other to be appointed. Currently being established and operational by March 2013.

Nomination: David Atkin (CBUS, Construction & Building Industry Super), Else Bos (PFZW), Engshuber, John Oliphant (Government Employees’ Pension Fund of South Africa), Simard and Gavin Power (Deputy Director at the UN Global Compact). Currently being established.

Election Oversight: Atkin, Engshuber, Saunders.