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AUM in Action

UK Asset Owners to Challenge Managers on Fossil Fuel Votes

A group of UK-based asset owners will be meeting major fund managers after the 2023 proxy season to review the extent to which managers served their long-term climate-related interests when conducting stewardship and voting activities at European oil and gas majors. Faith Ward, Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Brunel Pension Partnership and Chair of the UK Asset Owner Roundtable, said that asset owners are “concerned at a perceived misalignment between our long-term interests and how investment majors are exercising proxy voting at key annual general meetings”. She noted that delayed action on climate increases the chances of a disorderly climate transition and in turn increases the risks to pension funds’ long-term interests and their ability to serve the interests of their members and beneficiaries. Other members of the UK Asset Owner Roundtable that will be meeting with their external managers include Scottish Widows and The Church of England Pensions Board. The Roundtable members will be further commissioning an academic to review the way asset managers have interpreted their asset owner clients’ long-term interests in the exercise of their stewardship duties. Ward said: “We will be particularly focusing on how managers have voted at key AGMs in Europe as proof points for our understanding of their approach and our needs. The meeting is intended to be a constructive dialogue to support UK Asset Owners and to ensure that our needs are effectively understood by the managers we select on behalf of our members and the beneficiaries we serve.” 

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