Royal London joins governance network

Royal London has signed up to the International Corporate Governance Network

Royal London has signed up to the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), a few months after committing to UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment

In a further commitment to responsible investing, the UK’s biggest mutual insurer Royal London said membership of the ICGN will give the group a further platform from which to influence public policy as part of a collective voice in this area, as well as access to developments in engagement and advocacy, which will feed into the team’s approach.

The ICGN is a global investor-led organisation covering 50 markets with assets under management in excess of $54trn. The network and its members promote investor stewardship and the long term benefits of good corporate governance.

Members must sign up to ICGN’s seven key stewardship principles:

  1. Internal governance: the foundation of effective stewardship

Investors should keep under review their own governance practices to ensure consistency with the aims of national requirements and the ICGN Global Stewardship Principles and their ability to serve as fiduciary agents for their beneficiaries and clients.

  1. Developing and implementing stewardship policies

Investors should commit to developing and implementing stewardship policies which outlines the scope of their responsible investment practices.

  1. Monitoring and assessing investee companies

Investors should exercise diligence in monitoring companies held in investment portfolios and in assessing new companies for investment.

  1. Engaging companies and investor collaboration

Investors should engage with investee companies with the aim of preserving or enhancing value on behalf of beneficiaries or clients and should be prepared to collaborate with other investors to communicate areas of concern.

  1. Exercising voting rights

Investors with voting rights should seek to vote shares held and make informed and independent voting decisions, applying due care, diligence and judgement across their entire portfolio in the interests of beneficiaries or clients.

  1. Promoting long-term value creation and integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors

Investors should promote the long-term performance and sustainable success of companies and should integrate material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in stewardship activities.

  1. Enhancing transparency, disclosure and reporting

Investors should publicly disclose their stewardship policies and activities and report to beneficiaries or clients on how they have been implemented so as to be fully accountable for the effective delivery of their duties.

Commenting on the move Lorna Blyth (pictured), head of investment solutions at Royal London, said: “Signing up to the ICGN will enable us to collaborate with other asset owners to positively influence issues around investor stewardships and promote high standards of corporate governance. It is an ideal next step in our responsible investment journey.”

Earlier this year, Royal London signed up to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) as part of its commitment to responsible investing, following its sister company and primary asset manager, Royal London Asset Management, which became a PRI signatory in 2008.

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist for 16 years. She won Editor of the Year at the Aviva Investors Sustainability Media Awards 2021, and was Winner...