Investment - Articles - MPs call for transparency from Parliamentary pension fund

A group of MPs today asked their pension scheme, the Parliamentary Contribution Pension Fund (PCPF), for a meeting with representatives from the fund to discuss how their savings are invested.

 Taking part were Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion and Member of the Environmental Audit Committee; Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change; Huw Irranca-Davies, Labour MP for Ogmore and Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee; Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathhaven and Lesmahagow; and Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd. The group is planning to formally request a commitment from the trustees to meet regularly with interested members to discuss the scheme’s investments.
 The move follows previous engagement by MPs with the pension fund on the issue of climate change. In June, Caroline Lucas MP asked a question during PMQs about whether the fund should divest from fossil fuels, following plunging values of oil, gas and coal stocks.
 The action is part of a wider initiative by Responsible Investment charity ShareAction and USKIF, to encourage pension funds to engage with beneficiaries, during Good Money Week. Savers at NEST, The Pensions Trust, Scottish Widows, Legal and General and Aviva have taken action so far by asking their schemes to engage with savers through meetings, member forums and Annual General Meetings.
 UK savers are increasingly taking an interest in the way their money is invested, and looking for information on holdings in fossil fuel companies and weapons manufacturers, their fund’s position on labour practices in the corporate sector and much else. ShareAction believes it should be simpler and easier for savers to communicate with their pension providers about such issues.
 For Good Money Week, ShareAction has launched an online e-tool that savers can use to email their pension fund and ask whether it currently meets with members.
 Caroline Lucas MP said:
 “The Parliamentary pension fund must open up its investment portfolio to scrutiny from MPs. It’s a scandal that beneficiaries are denied access to the decision making process – and that the trustees of the Parliamentary Pension fund are so far behind the curve on divesting from fossil fuels.
 Far too many savers in Britain are locked out of engaging with their pension funds on environmental and ethical issues. I fully support ShareAction’s demand for greater transparency – and I hope my own pension fund does what’s right by listening to growing calls for proper oversight.”
 Lisa Cameron MP said:
 “We are signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals and as MPs we need to keep taking steps in the right direction in everything we do. It is important that we lead by example whenever possible.”
 ShareAction Chief Executive Catherine Howarth said:
 “We’re very pleased to be supporting MPs from across the political spectrum to engage with their pension fund during Good Money Week. There is growing interest among savers about how their money is invested and the impact that it has. Schemes that seek to be accountable to members will deliver more in the long run, we believe. We are looking forward to further engagement and commitment from UK pension schemes to take their members’ views into account.”

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