Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Whose money is it anyway?

It might make sense to reserve judgment on the mechanics of Labour's proposed freeze on energy prices until a) we see the details and b) Labour is actually in government.

Invesco Perpetual, however, apparently want to get stuck in right away though, and have launched a public attack on the policy. The asset manager is a big shareholder in Centrica and a big-ish one in SSE. It is using its position as a major shareholder - which it has only because it invests other people's money - to make what it must know is a very political point.

Mind you, it's worth noting in passing that it doesn't seem to think it is accountable to the ordinary punters who pay the portfolio managers' wages. Its Stewardship Code statement shows that it doesn't think you have the right to know how it votes at the likes of Centrica, SSE etc.
Whilst comprehensive records of IP’s voting instructions are maintained, IP does not report specifically on its voting activity. Whilst being mindful of its fiduciary duty and the interest of all investors, IP believes that automatic public disclosure of its voting records may have a detrimental effect on its ability to manage its portfolios and ultimately would not be in the best interest of all clients.
You're obviously not to be trusted to be told what it does with your ownership.

What's more, if you're an employee in the energy sector in the UK, Invesco Perpetual may actively threaten your employment prospects. In the most incredible part of their outburst they tell energy companies to downgrade the UK and consider investing elsewhere or not at all.
He said that Centrica should consider halting investment in the UK.
“[We would] encourage them when thinking about investment to significantly downgrade the attractiveness of the UK and significantly upgrade the attractiveness of investing elsewhere or returning cash to shareholders,” he said.
Any Labour/union etc controlled pension funds might want to check if they use Invesco as a manager...

Britain's asset management industry can do better than this!

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