Article date: 14 June 2004
Morley Fund Management ('Morley') has launched a campaign toshow how charities can align their investments with theirorganisational principles without compromising returns.
Morley's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) team, one of thebiggest in Europe, is sending an information pack to more than1,100 UK charities this week, demonstrating how charities can usetheir financial weight to invest for good.
The campaign pack describes many of the main social andenvironmental issues that SRI addresses - healthcare, environment,human rights, trade and development, climate change and corporategovernance - and shows where Morley has actively engaged to improvethe performance of listed companies in these areas. It alsoencourages charities to contact their investment adviser to ensuretheir pension funds and other investments are invested in asocially responsible manner.
During 2003, the Government made the recommendation thatregistered charities with an annual income of over £1m shouldreport annually on the extent to which social, environmental andethical (SEE) issues are taken into account in their investmentpolicies. Morley sees this as an indication that if charities donot take SEE issues into account voluntarily, the Government maybring in legislation to make them do so.
Melissa Gamble, SRI Analyst, said: "Increasing pressure fromgovernment to disclose investment policies is forcing morecharities to consider socially responsible investments. Charitiesthat fail to take account of where their assets are invested mayfind themselves open to reputation risks if those investmentsconflict with their campaigning priorities."
Simon McRae, UK Corporate Policy and Investment Coordinator,Friends of the Earth, said: "As an environmental campaigning NGO asocially responsible pension is important for our credibility. Wewant to avoid investing in companies that ignore environmental andsocial impacts. Investing in socially responsible pension funds canhelp us to influence companies to do the right thing as well asmake money for our retirement."
Research from the UK Social Investment Forum shows that 60% oftop charities still have no written ethical or socially responsibleinvestment policy. In addition, of those with policies, only 30%use their shareholder votes and only 26% have direct engagementwith the companies in which they invest.
Morley's SRI funds are different from most ethically screenedfunds. Rather than merely focusing on negative criteria to screenout investments in 'undesirable companies', the funds actively lookto invest in companies making a direct link between sustainabledevelopment and long-term returns.
Morley's SRI UK equity funds all returned top quartileperformance for 2003 and the team currently has £570m in fundsunder management.
- Morley Fund Management (‘Morley’) is anindependently managed, London based, asset management businesswith over £107 billion under management (as at 30 September 2003,not including mortgage assets). It actively manages a diverserange of asset classes and employs in the region of 900 employeesworldwide based in London, Singapore and an associate office inBoston*.
- Morley is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Aviva Group andmanages both institutional and retail funds under the Morleybrand. It also acts as investment manager for a range of retailinvestment funds, marketed in the UK by Norwich Union, andinternational funds marketed under the Aviva Funds brand.
- Fund Manager of the Year - Property Week Awards 2004
- Best Property Fund Manager - Pensions Management ProviderAwards 2003
- Fund Manager of the Year - Pensions Week Awards 2002
- Specialist Manager of the Year - UK Pensions Awards 2002
- Insurance Fund Manager of the Year (awarded to Norwich Union)- Standard and Poor's 2002
- Sustainable and Ethical Investment and Asset Management Award- Liveable City Awards 2002
*Morley Fund Management International Limited, an Avivacompany