Pension schemes join forces for Stewardship Council launch

The government has announced the launch of the Occupational Pensions Stewardship Council, which aims to provide a platform for sharing best practice and research to support to pension schemes wanting to make more thoughtful investments.

In particular, the government highlighted shareholder resolutions, climate change and corporate governance as three key stewardship activities which pension schemes may be able to play a more influential role in.

Membership of the council, which had its inaugural meeting yesterday (8 July), is expected to support schemes in understanding the immediate ways that stewardship facilities both sustainable financial returns, and better short-, medium- and long-term outcomes for savers.

The council is also aimed at occupational pension schemes and Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) pools looking to build a greater understanding of stewardship practices.

Twenty-eight pension schemes, responsible for around £550bn of assets, have already signed up to the council, including the BT Pension Scheme, London Pension Fund Authority, Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) and Brunel Pension Partnership.

The group's annual work plan will be set by council members, and will be supported by an engagement group made up of council members and key stakeholders.

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, stated that the launch of the Occupational Pensions Stewardship Council will "improve pension schemes’ and asset managers’ stewardship and engagement, helping companies ensure they are fit for purpose in the 21st Century".

He continued: "It seems to me that the role of pension schemes, trustees and asset managers over the next five to 10 years will be utterly vital in the passage of this country, and the entire world, to net zero.

"The council has been set up by the Department for Work and Pensions following recommendations made in the Treasury-led Investing with Purpose report, that a “dedicated council of UK pension schemes should be established to promote and facilitate high standards of stewardship of pension assets."

The full list of council members is as follows: BAE Systems Pension Scheme, BBC Pension Trust Ltd, Border to Coast Pensions Partnership, Brunel Pension Partnership, BT Pension Scheme, Church of England Funded Pension Scheme, Creative Pension Trust, Crystal, Cushon Master Trust, HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Limited, LGPS Central, London Pensions Fund Authority (LPFA), Lothian Pension Fund, Nationwide Pension Fund (Nationwide section), NatWest Group Pension Fund, NEST Corporation, Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC), NOW: Pensions, RPMI Railpen, Reed Elsevier Pension Scheme, Scottish Widows, Superannuation Arrangements of the University of London (SAUL), The Co-operative Pension Scheme (PACE), Shell (Royal Dutch Shell) Contributory Pension Fund, Smart Pension, Tesco Plc Pension Scheme, TPT, USS.

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