UK pension funds failing to protect worker rights in investment policies

first_imgUK pension funds lag their peers in the rest of Europe when it comes to having responsible investment policies referencing labour rights, according to a study by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).The study was motivated in part by the union’s concern that although progress had been made with respect to incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors by institutional investors, social issues are often overlooked.It reviewed the responsible investment policies of the 100 largest European pension funds and providers.Almost two-thirds (63%) of the sample – including funds in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark – referred to international standards including labour rights such as the International Labour Organization’s core conventions and the UN Global Compact. The UK was “the clear outsider”, it found, as it accounted for two-thirds of the funds that did not refer to international standards, and 78% by assets (€684bn).This finding was significant, the ITF said, because the UK had the largest pool of retirement assets in Europe, and, in contrast to many other European countries, did not provide board-level representation for workers.“So neither does the governance structure for its public companies provide a formal role for workers, nor do the vehicles of UK workers’ retirement savings formally promote their interests,” it said.More generally, it said the study’s findings were important because they showed that it was “entirely possible for funds to adopt policies that promote workers’ rights, and that existing fund policies may be shaped more by the country’s political and social culture than fiduciary duty or regulation covering pensions and investments”.Tom Powdrill, responsible investment coordinator at the ITF and author of the report, told IPE that the geographic split seemed to run counter to the increasingly accepted argument that ESG issues were financially material over the long-term.“If that is the case, then it seems pretty intuitively plausible that the way you treat people is going to be a factor in the financial performance of investee companies,” he said. “Therefore you shouldn’t really see any geographic split between which investors think labour issues matter and which don’t.“If that’s a historical cultural hang-up then we should try and change it.”The ITF said it was working with others in the labour movement to develop ideas about a model pension fund policy on labour issues. It also said that unions could help improve practice on labour issues at pension funds by sharing more information about companies with funds.Danish labour market pension fund PensionDanmark recently had meetings with representatives of two of the biggest UK trade unions over claims of wage-undercutting at two bio-mass plants in which the pension fund invests.ITF president Paddy Crumlin spoke of ethics and morals: “[Pension money] is the hard-earned product of hard work and industrial negotiation, and is a deferment of wages that workers decide to make to secure a dignified and decent retirement. It has to be put to work itself in a way that respects that source.“It is only right that it helps build sustainable individual and collective futures, and that it does so ethically. It is morally inconceivable that it should be invested in companies that attack the rights of the very workers paying towards these pensions.”last_img read more

Pilot missing after US F-15 crashes in North Sea

first_imgSearch and rescue personnel are looking for the pilot of a U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle that crashed in the North Sea on Monday morning, according to Stars and Stripes.The plane, assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath in England, was on a routine training mission and had one pilot on board, base officials said. It went down off the coast of East Yorkshire at 9:40 a.m., local time.The cause of the crash and the status of the pilot were not immediately known, they said.An F-15C from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Fighter Wing skidded to a stop at Joint Base Andrews, Md., last month after the pilot declared an in-flight emergency. No injuries were reported.On June 10, 2018, an F-15C from the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, crashed into the ocean south of Okinawa. The pilot ejected and was recovered by Japanese rescue forces.The 48th FW is the only Air Force F-15 fighter wing in Europe, and consists of more than 4,500 active-duty military members.RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England, according to their website.last_img read more

Local Insurance Agency Recognized by Large Professional Organization

first_imgFacebook55Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Ronelle Funk Insurance, Inc. Ronelle Funk, president and CEO of Ronelle Funk Insurance, Inc., was recently recognized by the Thurston County Multiple Listing Service Association (MLSA) with its “2016 Affiliate of the Year” award. The award was presented at the large business organization’s annual Officer Installation and Holiday Social earlier in December at the Hotel Red Lion in Olympia. Ronelle Funk is the president and CEO of Ronelle Funk Insurance, Inc. with multiple locations in Thurston County. Photo courtesy: Ronelle Funk Insurance.“Ronelle is well-respected in our community and participates in many community and charity events,” 2016 MLSA President Rae Anne Toth explained. “Her business success reflects the respect that she’s earned, having grown significantly—enough to require opening her second insurance office in Lacey. She is a stellar example of a strong business woman that younger women can look up to and learn from. She is a wonderful asset to our community.” Funk owns and manages two of the area’s Allstate Insurance offices, one in the city of Lacey and another in Yelm. She has been a resident of Thurston County for 29 years and attended South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), later graduating from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 2005, Funk earned her master’s degree in mental health and counseling from Saint Martin’s University. She has advised people on their insurance needs for the last 18 years.A member of the Allstate Against Abuse Team, Funk joined efforts to help victims break free from domestic violence through financial education and empowerment. She is a Yelm Community Schools Business Partner and sponsors local baseball and tee-ball teams, Yelm Dollars for Scholars, the Nisqually Home and Car Show, the YWCA and many other events and organizations. She and her family participate in and sponsor the annual Olympia Toy Run, joining motorcyclists that donate money and toys to the Salvation Army for children in need.Ronelle Funk is very active in community building and charitable events such as the Olympia Toy Run. Photo courtesy: Ronelle Funk Insurance.Funk has served as the president of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and was named its 2014 Business of the Year. Ronelle Funk Insurance was also recognized as the Best Insurance Agency in the Nisqually Valley in 2010 and Allstate customers voted it number one in customer service within a five-state region. Her business has been nominated as the “Best of South Sound” Insurance Agency by The Olympian newspaper readers. “This MLSA award is very meaningful to me,” said Funk. “The organization is an amazing local group of professionals that serve the real estate industry and have a great read on our communities. Like so many MLSA members, my company and staff truly care about the families and households that trust us to help them protect their most important assets and we want to give back to the place where we live and work.” Thurston County’s MLSA is a networking group of nearly 200 professional members and affiliates that include real estate brokers, loan officers, inspectors, insurance agents, builders/contractors, movers, interior designers and other real estate industry services. The group meets Tuesday mornings for breakfast at Pellegrino’s Tyee Event Center in Tumwater, Wash.last_img read more