Most Asset Managers Ignore Human Rights

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – According to a new report from ShareAction, 70% of the world’s largest asset managers do not have a policy to exclude or engage with companies in line with international human rights frameworks.

    The report, also finds that 47% of asset managers, with over $45 trillion in assets in total, do not prohibit investments in controversial weapons banned by international arms treaties. Only 4%, or 3 out of 75 of the asset managers, have their own dedicated human rights policy.

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    Geographically, Europe seems to be the most mindful about Human Rights, while USA-based asset managers lag behind. According to the report, Fidelity Investments, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Vanguard, BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, and Capital Group are among the worst performers. Robeco, APG Asset Management, PGGM, BNP Paribas Asset Management, and Legal & General Investment Management show the most robust performance on human rights.

    According to ShareAction, the geographical differences in Human Rights performance reflect different policy preoccupations. While Europe has seen a range of legal shifts towards greater mandatory reporting on human rights, including the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive, the Trump administration does not seem to be prioritising Human Rights.

    “The findings of our assessment show that the world’s largest asset managers while paying lip service to the protection of human rights, are largely failing to hold the companies in their portfolios to account for human and labour rights abuses,” says Felix Nagrawala, Senior Analyst at ShareAction. “The majority of the most influential investors not only fail to do the minimum by complying with international human and labour rights frameworks, but also actively finance activities which cause human harm and violate labour rights.

    At a time when an estimated 16 million people around the globe remain victims of modern slavery, the asset management industry cannot continue to ignore this issue.

    Image by Kaatjem from Pixabay

    Image courtesy of kaatjem from Pixabay
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe Albuquerque
    Filipe is an economist with 8 years of experience in macroeconomic and financial analysis for the Economist Intelligence Unit, the UN World Institute for Development Economic Research, the Stockholm School of Economics and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Filipe holds a MSc in European Political Economy from the LSE and a MSc in Economics from the University of London, where he currently is a PhD candidate.
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