JPMorgan, Columbia Threadneedle, Northern Trust missing from ESG standards code

Columbia Threadneedle, Northern Trust and JPMorgan Asset Management are among the major asset managers yet to sign the UK’s influential management code – the second time in six months they have not made the list.

The code, which is overseen by audit regulator the Financial Reporting Council, requires asset managers, asset owners and service providers who are registered to demonstrate to investors how they engage with companies to hold them to account.

They must also explain their approach to integrating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions, as part of attempts to prevent companies from overstating their credentials through so-called ‘greenwashing’. “.

The FRC, which overhauled the code in 2020, released an updated list of signatories on March 10 – adding more names to those who made the cut in September.

READ The FRC has finally shown its teeth, and the City should be embarrassed

The FRC said it had received 105 applications by the end of the October deadline, which was “much more than expected”. Of these, 74 passed.

This brought the number of signatories to 199, including asset managers with £33bn of global assets under management.

UK-listed Schroders was among the most notable names missing from the first list of signatories, along with Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Pimco, T Rowe Price and State Street Global Advisors.

Schroders said at the time he was “frustrated” that he failed to make the cut, adding that the FRC told him it was down to “the format rather than the substance” of his submission.

READ The FRC has finally shown its teeth, and the City should be embarrassed

The five companies have now been added to the list of asset managers who have signed the code.

the FTreported in September that Columbia Threadneedle planned to submit an application in October to be included in the latest round of signatories.

However, a spokesperson for Columbia Threadneedle said it had postponed its bid until April due to its acquisition of BMO Global Asset Management’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which was completed during the last quarter of 2021.

“One of the main goals of our collaboration with BMO GAM is to align ourselves with a holistic approach to enterprise-wide stewardship, using our combined and complementary strengths. We are pleased to see that BMO GAM has now become a signatory,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Northern Trust said that although it is not currently a signatory to the stewardship code, it is “committed to its guiding principles”.

Northern Trust is “working towards the April submission deadline”, the spokesperson added.

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