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Trustee briefing: Corporate governance (26.01.2012)

As large institutional investors with responsibility for significant financial assets, it is vital for occupational pension schemes to set a high standard when it comes to corporate governance. But although most trustees recognise these issues are important, many are unsure how to ensure the companies they invest in maintain good levels of corporate governance

FairPensions comments on corporate governance

FairPensions question obligation to invest in tobacco

FairPensions' Policy Officer, Christine Berry, challenges local authorities' reasoning behind investments in tobacco on BBC Radio Leeds (24.01.2012) and BBC Radio London (25.01.2012)

Listen to Christine Berry's comments on BBC Leeds and BBC London


Councils told to stub out big tobacco pension deals (24.01.2012)

Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money has been invested in the tobacco industry by councils which next year take on responsibility for public health, an investigation by The Independent has revealed.

Read more on FairPensions' joint briefing with ASH on tobacco investments

Business interests? Cable refuses to legislate on executive pay (23.01.2012)

While it appears there will be a bill to give shareholders a 'binding vote' on executive pay, Mr Cable backed down from the more radical proposals put forward by the high pay commission.

FairPensions comments on Vince Cable's proposals for a binding vote

Jon Cruddas wades in on responsible capitalism debate (20.01.2012)

Labour leftwinger Jon Cruddas has joined the debate on responsible capitalism by calling for all shareholders to be forced to disclose their voting practices at company annual general meetings. He said big shareholders, who manage millions of people's pension savings, have to be made more accountable to the people whose money they look after.

FairPensions comments on increasing shareholder accountability


Jon Cruddas on responsible capitalism (20.01.2012)

The Labour MP for Dagenham will suggest to the Commons this afternoon that the government is not going far enough and that pensions funds must be more accountable to the people whose money they invest.

Read more about Jon Cruddas' speech on fidicuary duty


UK's high-carbon investment risky, central bank told (19.01.2012)

The Bank of England should look into how Britain's exposure to high carbon emitting investments might harm the UK's financial system and long-term economic growth prospects, a coalition of investors, academics and environmentalists said on Thursday.

More on FairPensions' concerns about the UK's high-carbon investments


The new age of shareholder power (13.01.2012)

David Cameron pledged this week to give shareholders new powers to vote to curb excessive executive pay. Under the plans investors will, for the first time, have the right to veto multimillion fat-cat packages at banks and big businesses.

Read about a successful shareholder intervention

Cameron’s excessive executive pay move won’t solve problem (10.01.2012)

Campaigning groups have welcomed the government's move to tackle spiralling executive pay, but warn giving shareholders a binding vote is not enough to stall the practice.

FairPensions comments on high pay

Anger as council pensions cash in on tobacco (10.01.2012)

YORKSHIRE council pension funds are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in tobacco companies and global corporations accused of environmental abuses.

FairPensions comments on tobacco investments

Who is watching the pay watchmen? (09.01.2012)

Britain's top institutional investors are meant to be the standard-bearers for shareholder engagement. They have been told - by the Prime Minister, no less - to lead a glorious fightback against the deep-rooted culture of boardroom extravagance on pay.

FairPensions comments on investors and high pay

Finance should be our servant, not our master (09.01.2012)

Thoughtful stewardship is key to re-engineering a more sustainable investment system, says Mark Goyder

See Mark Goyders comments on our fiduciary duty report

How can we fight child poverty without hitting people's pockets? (08.12.2011)

Britons, it would appear, are becoming increasingly individualistic and less willing to pay higher taxes to support healthcare spending, education and protecting the environment. Has the time come to explore ways to help the poorest in society without increasing the amount of tax we have pay?

Read our post on child poverty

Clegg to block excess exec pay? (05.12.2011)

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has promised to tackle "abhorrent" fat cat pay with a get-tough package of more transparency and accountability aimed at company and City chief execs.

Read our comments on High Pay

Bankers responsible for short-termism

Bankers, executive pay and "pressure for unreasonable returns" have pushed UK companies towards a culture of short termism, according to submissions made to Vince Cable's Kay Review.

Read our comments in the full piece

Responsible Investor

Misinterpreted fiduciary duty driving short-termism, says FairPensions

A misinterpreted sense of fiduciary duty in the investment chain is contributing to market short-termism, says campaign group FairPensions.

More on our Kay Review response

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Hush! It's a self fulfilling prophecy

Redesigning pension systems to create the right sort was the subject of another debate last week, held by FairPensions.

Read more on our guest lecture


Large majority of pension funds too small to succeed

The large majority of pension funds are too small and too reliant on unnecessarily complex governance structures to succeed, Keith Ambachtsheer of the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management (ICPM) has argued.

More about our guest lecture

FairPensions Annual Lecture: The 5 drivers of high performance schemes

Pension funds can change the face of modern capitalism if their investment and governance structures are fundamentally redesigned.

More from our guest lecture

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Calls mount for action on executive pay awards (03.10.2011)

Escalating executive pay levels and the mismatch between remuneration and company performance are causing increasing concern among shareholders, regulators, the general public and even politicians.

More on Executive Pay

More Shareholder Say on Pay 'is Impractical' (26.09.2011)

FairPensions responds to lawyers claims that voting on executive remuneration would be impractical.

Verdicts on Vince Cable's speech (20.09.2011)

Experts give their views on different aspects of Vince Cable's speech. Christine Berry comments alongside Polly Toynbee, Quentin Letts and others.

Read our comment on Vince Cable's Speech


UK pension funds welcome proposals on executive remuneration (20.09.2011)

Coverage of our response to the discussion paper released by BIS on executive remuneration.

Read the article on pension funds and executive pay

Shareholders need to get tough on executive salaries (19.09.2011)

A comment piece by our policy officer, Christine Berry, on the idea of giving shareholders a binding vote on executive pay.

More on shareholders voting on executive pay

Shareholders might get greater say in companies' remuneration policies (19.09.2011)

Explanations from remuneration committees justifying excessive pay deals without any great performance should be added to annual company reports.

More on Executive Remuneration

Responsible Investor

UK considers introducing binding shareholder votes on executive pay (19.09.2011)

The UK government is mulling the idea of giving shareholders a binding vote on executive pay.

More on Binding Votes

Tax and ethics: Can pay, should pay (31.08.2011)

As tax blasts its way onto the public agenda, companies should concentrate on where they pay, as well as how much.

More on Tax Avoidance

Local government tobacco investor list grows (24.08.2011)

One organisation, Fairpensions, which promotes responsible investment by pension funds and fund managers, has questioned the argument that schemes have an obligation to maximise profit at any cost.

More on Kent CC Investing in Tobacco

UK Scheme Battles Criticism for £24M Tobacco Investment (24.08.2011)

FairPensions, for example, a UK-based advocacy group that recently published a report on investors' legal duties, has questioned the argument that pension funds have an obligation to maximize profit at any cost.

More on Kent CC Investing in Tobacco


Kent under fire for scheme's £24m tobacco investment (24.08.2011)

The local authority fund invests about £13.5m in the Altria Group; £3.6m in Philip Morris; £3.5m in Imperial Tobacco; and £3.4m in Japan Tobacco - about 1% of its total equity investments.

More on Kent CC Investing in Tobacco

Responsible Investor

€3.6bn UK fund criticised over tobacco holdings (24.08.2011)

Kent County Council in southeast England has been criticised over its £3.2bn (€3.6bn) pension fund's £24m investment in four tobacco companies.

More on Kent CC Investing in Tobacco

Kent under fire for scheme's £24m tobacco investment (24.08.2011)

Kent County Council has come under fire from campaign groups for investing £24m of its pension fund portfolio in tobacco companies.

More on Kent CC investing in tobacco

KCC Defends Decision to Invest in Tobacco Firms (23.08.2011)

FairPensions, who recently published a report on investors' legal duties, has questioned the argument that pension funds have an obligation to maximise profit at any cost.

More on Investing in Tobacco

Inserting human right into telecoms one company at a time (21.08.2011)

Vodafone, who has been operating in Egypt since 1998 and whose Egyptian operations are partially owned by Telecom Egypt, was one of three operators that shutdown their services late January.

More on Phone Blocking

Responsible Investor

RI Briefing (17.08.2011)

Campaign group FairPensions has said investors should be concerned about the "lack of transparency" from oil major Shell over the current North Sea oil spill...

Read More

UK Regulators Step Up Pressure On Shell Over Oil Spill (16.08.2011)

Facing scrutiny from regulators over a large oil spill in the North Sea that continued for a sixth day, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) Tuesday acknowledged that some oil is still leaking from a pipeline that it had repaired last week.

Read more

UK Regulators Step Up Pressure On Shell Over Oil Spill (16.08.2011)

Facing scrutiny from regulators over a large oil spill in the North Sea that continued for a sixth day, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) Tuesday acknowledged that some oil is still leaking from a pipeline that it had repaired last week.

Read more

 Oil leak is threat to Shell hope in Arctic (16.08.2011)

But Royal Dutch Shell's spillage of 1,300 barrels of crude into the North Sea from the Gannet field is still a big headache for the company as it tries to convince regulators it should be allowed to carry out drilling in the Arctic.

More on Shell's Prospects in the Arctic

Shell North Sea Oil Spill- Live Blog (16.08.2011)

While not comparable in scale to the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, investors should be increasingly worried that Shell's response and lack of transparency to date echoes BP's crisis management failures. 

More on our reaction to the oil spill

Shedding light on Vodafone's digital darkness (27.06.2011)

A company like Vodafone is well aware that its AGM is the kind of place that will attract some less than friendly faces on the doorstep. Guilty conscience? Indeed.

Read More

Investment: Aiming for a good outcome (27.07.2011)

When it comes to ensuring good investment outcomes, the role played by qualified actuaries as investment consultants is vital. 

Read More

Vodafone's Bad Call on Egypt (26.07.2011) 

Anthony Hilton used his 'City Comment' piece to support our calls for Vodafone to consider the risks assosiated with their complicity with repressive regimes.

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Vodafone faces pressure over Egypt protests (25.07.2011)

Campaigners will seek to use Vodafone's annual meeting on Tuesday to call on the mobile phone group to prevent a repetition of how its network in Egypt was used to carry propaganda on behalf of the country's former ruler.

Read more on Vodafone and Phone Blocking


Trustees must accept new fiduciary duties (25.07.2011)

The complaint that trustees must act as 'moral policemen' misses the point, says FairPensions' Christine Berry.

Read our Op Ed Piece

Flex your muscles on ethical investing, low-cost tracker funds are urged (17.07.2011)

Catherine Howarth of the charity, which campaigns for greater corporate accountability to private investors, believes fund companies that manage trackers have a responsibility to engage with boards and press for improvement where necessary.

More on Ethical Investing

Investors should consider implications of hacking scandal (08.07.2011)

After the hacking allegations directed at the News of the World, pension investors should consider the implications for the proposed BSkyB buyout by News International, FairPensions said.

Read the full article

Shares in Rupert Murdoch's companies tumble as investors take fright (08.07.2011)

Investors in companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch have been dumping the shares amid fears on both sides of the Atlantic over the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.

Read the full article


Phone hacking: Questions over BSkyB deal as investors feel brunt of scandal (08.07.2011)

It says investors in companies controlled by Rupert Murdoch have been dumping the shares amid fears over the fallout from the phone-hacking scandal which prompted The News of the World's parent company News International to close the publication.

Read the full article

News of the World Live Blog (07.07.2011)

Live coverage of the News of the World Hacking Scandal. FairPensions issue a statement.

Read the Live Blog Archive

Responsible Investor

RI analysis: institutional investors, ESG and News Corp.

With News Corp.'s UK media operations currently at the eye of a storm as a result of the current phone hacking scandal, what is the stance of institutional investors in dealing with environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues at the company?

Read More

Britain's Army of Small Investors (25.06.2011)

Most of us are business owners - even if we don't know it. Eight out of ten of us have shares in Britain's biggest companies, mostly through the pension savings built up privately or through work.

Read More

Christine Berry asks what a trustee's fiduciary responsibility really entails (May 2011)

Pension fund trustees are acutely conscious of their fiduciary duty to act in members' best interests. But what does that duty mean in practice in the increasingly complex world of modern pension saving?

More from Christine Berry


Women in pension funds: A small but talented pool (26.05.2011)

Lockwood Gibb's Sarah Dudney struggles to match Ernst & Young's top 50 women in hedge funds.

More on Catherine Howarth in the top ten pensions women

Responsible Investor

It's time to put pension members' interests first (06.05.2011)

FairPensions, the NGO lobby group, is among those looking at the scope of pension fund fiduciary duty. Integrated corporate reporting of ESG and financial issues is gaining ground.

Read the full comment piece

Responsible Investor

The Duty to be an Enlightened Fiduciary (02.05.2011)

An op-ed piece about Fiduciary Obligation by Christine Berry from FairPensions. 

Read the full piece

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Catherine Howarth: Driving Force of the Pensions Lobby (24.04.2011)

The pensions industry often bemoans the lack of interest pension scheme members take in how their money is invested. Educating and engaging with members, particularly of defined contribution schemes, is seen as a means to achieve better pension outcomes.

Read the full interview with Catherine

FairPensions exposes conflict at the heart of pensions (19.04.2011)

FairPensions has produced an in-depth report which lifts the lid on the conflicts of interest at the heart of pensions management, and calls on institutional investors to mend their ways by adopting what it calls an "enlightened fiduciary" model.

More on our report


Putting the Fiduciary in 'Fiduciary Management' (19.04.2011)

Trustees outsource more and more of the key decisions about how a fund is invested, but cannot renounce their fiduciary duties: in other words, they delegate power without responsibility.

Read Christine Berry's Op Ed

BP AGM as it Happened

The Telegraph followed our team of tweeters from inside the BP AGM.

Read about FairPensions' Tweets

FairPensions comment on BP AGM (14.04.2011)

Louise Rouse, Director of Engagement at FairPensions, was invited onto the 7 O'clock news on Al Jazeera to comment on the days events at The BP AGM.

The majority of British investors have been conspicuous only by their silence (13.04.2011)

FairPensions, the advocacy group, urged BP shareholders to register their dissatisfaction with the company. It said: "Although investors from the US and continental Europe have been coming forward to declare their voting intentions...."

                                                  FairPensions in The Telegraph

FairPensions calls for UK investors to speak up ahead of BP AGM (12.04.2011)

Charity group FairPensions has called on UK investors to declare their voting intentions in advance of BP's AGM in London this week.

                                                                            FairPensions in PensionsAge

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Time to air fiduciary issues at AGMs (11.04.2011)

As we approach the first AGM season since the introduction of the Stewardship Code in the UK, the spotlight is shifting onto the voting decisions of institutional investors.

                                                                            Full Story

The shareholder awakens (07.04.2011)

FairPensions, a lobby group, issued a report calling for a tightening of the fiduciary-responsibility law for pension funds, insurers and other big investors who manage people's money

                                                                            Full Story



Investor Group Tells Companies to Come Clean on Carbon (04.04.2011)

FairPensions, a charity that promotes responsible investment, is calling for mandatory carbon reporting to be enacted as soon as possible to benefit both the environment and pension savers.

                                                                            Full Story

Pension Middlemen Decide to Top Up Their Fees Despite Paltry Returns for Investors (31.03.2011)

A damning report from charity FairPensions found that while returns on pensions collapsed to 1.1 per cent per year between 2002 and 2007, payments to middlemen (such as fund managers and consultants) rose by more than 50 per cent.

                                                                            Full Story

Government and Regulator to Define Fiduciary Duties (31.03.2011)

Commenting on the findings from the report, Christine Berry from FairPensions said: "many don't understand what fiduciary duty is. It is often perceived as maximising shareholder value, but that is written nowhere in case law." .

                                                                            Full Story

Review of Fiduciary Obligations Needed- FairPensions (31.03.2011)

An ‘enlightened fiduciary' model should be put in place for institutional investors to parallel the new duties of company directors introduced in 2006, said FairPensions.

                                                                            Full Story

Trustee Investment 'Focus Too Much on Financial Return' (30.03.2011)

Charity trustees put too much emphasis on financial return when investing, and too little on their duty to beneficiaries, according to a new report from the ethical investment organisation FairPensions.

                                                                            Full Story

Responsible Investor

Government Guidance Needed to Clarify Fiduciary Responsibility (30.03.2011)

Campaign group Fair Pensions has called for existing corporate legislation covering directors' responsibilities to be the model for clarifying institutional investors' fiduciary responsibility and free them up to take account of responsible investment.

                                                                            Full Story


UK Schemes Urged to Act on The Spirit of The Law 14.03.2011

UK – Pension funds must act on the spirit rather than purely the letter of the law when it comes to matters of voter disclosure, a member of the UK House of Lords has insisted.

                                                                            Full Story

Interview with Catherine Howarth 10.03.2011

This in depth interview with our CEO Catherine Howarth looks at mobilizing the power of pension funds to change corporate bahaviour.

                                                                            Full Story

London's Low Wage Economy 04.03.2011

A response to David Cohen's articles by FairPensions' CEO Catherine Howarth. 

                                                                            Full Story

Responsible Investor

Proposal to improve pension fund ESG disclosure tabled in UK Parliament 03.03.2011

Pension funds in the UK may have to disclose more on
their environmental, social and governance (ESG)
activities if proposed amendments to existing legislation
are adopted.

                                                                            Full Story


Towards Truly Responsible shareholder Activism 22.02.2011

Fairpensions: Individuals are concerned about the company's financial performance but are also not afraid to say – we believe in profit, but not at any cost. And that's truly responsible shareholder activism.

Full Story

Most green funds hold oil companies 18.02.2011

"FairPensions, claimed that the majority of Britain's biggest occupational pension schemes were keeping their members in the dark about the environmental and social impact of their investments."

Full Story

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Short Termism Requires Long Term Vision 16.01.2011

Fairpensions is a leading example of a move towards understanding and challenging pensions and investment decisions. 

Full Story

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Managers fall short on code detail. 13.12.10

FairPensions has called for greater transparency in the UK asset manager industry on voting and engagement disclosure in line with the new Stewardship Code. Our CEO suggests that "positive pressure needs to come from trustees".

Full story

Are pension managers responsible? 13.12.10

In an interview with the BBC that followed FairPensions' release of 'Stewardship in the Spotlight', our Director of Investor Engagement encourages the general public to "get on top of what's happening with their money".

Full story

The Guardian

FairPensions responds to Vince Cable's speech to the Liberal Democrat conference 22.09.10

FairPensions has supported Vince Cable's call for more shareholder influence over governance issues, but warns that the framework of the proposed OFR is needed to help investors engage responsibly.

Full story

FairPensions targets BP in nationwide environmental campaign 13.09.10

FairPensions has called on UK scheme members to question the oil industry's "increasingly risky business model" in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster

Full story

Pension campaign to target oil companies 13.09.10

A new campaign lanuched by FairPensions and Greenpeace hope to harness the power of shareholders to force companies to prepare for future catastrophes in order to avoid another Deepwater oil spill.

Full story

Pensions Insight

A Landmark Year for Pensions 09.10

2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the regulations that enforced the publishing of Statments of Investment Principles. It also saw the US struggle with the biggest oil spill in its history. FairPensions' Director of Investor Engagement, Louise Rouse examines how these two events are linked and explores how the consequence of poor ESG decisions is often financial loss.

Full story

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In the slick of it 01.07.10

FairPensions: The implications that withholding of the dividend will have for UK pension funds highlights the potential for this crisis to damage UK savings and the need for investors to put in place measures to guard against such risks in the future.

Full story


BP debacle highlights need for responsible ownership 02.06.10

FairPensions: BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill raises further evidence of concerns about BP's long-term risk management, gaps in investor scrutiny and low cost solutions.

Full story