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USS and Railpen set up engagement website

Two of the UK’s largest pension funds set up an investor communication website as part of alliance to coordinate share voting at company meetings – made possible thanks to clarification on ‘acting in concert’ guidelines from the UK Financial Services Authority

Two of the largest pension funds in the UK, Railpen and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, have set up an investor communication website as part of their alliance to coordinate their share voting at company meetings.

The password-protected site, www.activeowners.org, has been created by the duo as part of their initiative on investor communication revealed by Responsible Investor last month, which they hope will provide an infrastructure for engaged voting for other pension funds – domestic and overseas – in due course.

Railpen and USS, respectively worth £15bn (€16.5bn) and £21bn (€23bn), are two of the most prominent shareholder activists in the UK.

They stated: “As two large asset owners with a clear commitment to, and experience in, engagement and long term active ownership, Railways Pension Trustee Company Ltd (Railpen) and Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd (USS) have pooled governance expertise and resources to convene a voting alliance.”RI understands the initiative has been made possible thanks to clarification on ‘acting in concert’ guidelines from the UK Financial Services Authority, following the implementation of the European Union’s Acquisitions Directive. Sally Dewar, managing director for risk at the watchdog, pointed out last August – in a letter to the Association of British Insurers – that the phrase ‘acting in concert’ is not intended to cover “ad hoc discussions and understandings in good faith solely aimed at exerting influence intended to promote generally accepted principles of good corporate governance”.

In a speech last month Dewar said the FSA is conscious of the industry’s need for further guidance on its interpretation of ‘acting in concert’ and that it plans to consult on the topic in April.

Link to Active Owners web site
Link to previous RI coverage:
UK pension funds, Railpen and USS, create shareholder voting alliance