UK asset owners to reflect on lack of proxy season success in oil and gas
UK asset owners are planning a meeting with major fund managers to discuss the soon-to-end proxy voting season.
The aim of the gathering will be to review how asset owners long term interests have been served by their managers when exercising their stewardship and proxy voting at major European oil and gas companies.
"As Chair of the UK Asset Owner Roundtable, we will be convening a meeting of major fund managers following the proxy voting season," Faith Ward, chief responsible investment officer at Brunel Pension Partnership, wrote on LinkedIn today.
She revealed that several members of the UK Asset Owner Roundtable, including Brunel Pension Partnership, Scottish Widows and The Church of England Pension Board, amongst others, "are concerned at a perceived misalignment between our long-term interests and how investment managers are exercising proxy voting at key annual general meetings of European oil and gas majors."
Specifically, UK asset owners are concerned that, despite warnings from the United Nations and the IPCC of the risks of delayed action on climate change, short-term interests are trumping long-term interests of pension funds.
"Delayed action on climate increases the chances of a disorderly climate transition and missing the goals of the Paris Agreement," Ward wrote.
"This in turn increases the risks to pension funds long-term interests and the ability of those funds to serve the interests of their members and beneficiaries," she stressed.
Following the proxy season, the group plans to commission a leading academic to review the way significant asset managers have interpreted their clients’ long-term interests in the exercise of their stewardship duties.
"We will be particularly focussing on how managers have voted at key AGMs in Europe as proof points for our understanding of their approach and our needs," Ward wrote.
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," she concluded.
No further details about the upcoming meeting were revealed at this stage.
The net zero weight on asset owners’ shoulders