Press Release: Wespath Investment Managers Become Signatories to United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment
August 2, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4296 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenview, IL—The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church’s Wespath Investment Management division today announced that Wellington Investment Management (a Boston-based independent investment management firm) and Neuberger Berman Group (New York City) have recently become signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).
The General Board was among 26 organizations invited by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2006 to draft the six Principles for Responsible Investment and was a founding signatory. Since the UNPRI launch, the 26 original signatories have grown to more than 1,000 asset owners, investment managers and investment services providers. As part of its commitment to the Principles, Wespath has encouraged its own investment managers to become signatories. Collectively, Wespath’s 20 UNPRI signatories manage more than $12 billion or approximately 70% of Wespath’s total assets under management.
According to Neuberger Berman Group’s president and chief investment officer, signing the UNPRI “is another example of our commitment to responsible investing. This is a statement of our support for UNPRI and its work with asset managers in formulating a global presence for the Principles.”
The Principles recognize the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investment decision-making. Signatories commit to promoting “acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.” According to an official release, Wellington Management stated, “our portfolio management and corporate governance teams view ESG analysis and integration as both return-enhancing and risk-mitigating.”
Responsible investing is the centerpiece of Wespath’s investing philosophy. “Wespath is firmly committed to the UNPRI,” said Wespath’s Chief Investment Officer David H. Zellner. “The Principles are an important element of our socially responsible investment philosophy, and it is only natural that we would want our investment managers to follow suit and embrace the Principles. We are delighted Wellington Investment Management and the Neuberger Berman Group have taken this step in recognizing the importance of ESG factors in investment analysis. We commend all of our managers who have become UNPRI signatories.”
About the General Board and Wespath
The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, responsible for the general supervision and administration of the retirement, health and welfare benefit plans, programs and funds for more than 91,000 clergy and lay employees of the Church.
Wespath is the investment management division of the General Board, recognized as the largest faith-based benefit plans administrator and pension fund/investment asset manager, with approximately $17 billion in assets under management. It is among the top 100 pension fund managers (based on assets under management) in the U.S. This financial services institution, in operation since 1908, invests nearly $1.5 billion of the assets under management on behalf of institutional investors such as United Methodist annual conferences and foundations, and other United Methodist-affiliated organizations. As a socially responsible investor, Wespath is actively involved in shareholder advocacy, proxy voting, portfolio screening and community investing.