UN Principles for Responsible Investment plans radical changes to board

Fund managers and service providers to get seats on new Advisory Council

The United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment has announced a radical shake-up of its governance structure.
For the first time, asset manager and service provider signatories will be able to sit on the PRI Board, which will be renamed the PRI Advisory Council.
Asset owners will continue to play a leadership role within the initiative, the PRI says. It’s a major departure for the 879-signatory body, which was launched in 2006 as primarily an institutional investor-led project following an invitation from then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The PRI currently has 493 asset managers and 161 service providers as signatories. There are 225 asset owner signatories.

The plans come as a new chairman, Munich Re executive Wolfgang Engshuber, takes the helm at the PRI, and – more significantly – as it prepares to charge mandatory fees. Link to RI Interview with Wolfgang Engshuber.

“The Advisory Council, which remains the peakgovernance body for the PRI Initiative, felt with mandatory fees being payable from April 1, all signatories should have representation,” the PRI said.

The 16-member council will now include the Chair, two UN representatives, nine asset owners and four non-asset owners. Of the four non-asset owner positions, there will be one slot reserved for a service partner and one for an emerging market organisation, whether manager or service provider.

There will be elections for the positions over the summer. The results will be announced before the PRI in Person event in September in Paris.

“Investment managers and service partners have always had a big input into the direction of the PRI,” said PRI Executive Director James Gifford. “But on the move to fees, it was felt that formal representation from these signatories on the Council is essential to mainstreaming the PRI and responsible investment throughout the investment chain, and providing value for all signatories”.