From July next year, superannuation funds are required to tell their members what investments are held in the fund. The question is, along with letting us know what they have bought on our behalf, will the funds also let us know whether they are discussing issues with management and, if so, what they discussed? Will they ask us what we think?
History does not bode well.
In 2008, a Parliamentary Committee found that institutional investors, such as superannuation funds, made decisions about whether to engage with companies based primarily on the economic cost to them. Some found engagement to be a distraction from generating investment returns. These conclusions followed earlier research in 1998 that showed active participation in company decision-making was not high on the agenda of most institutional investors. It found voting decisions made by these institutions were not transparent or prioritised.
- We own the companies (weownthecompanies.com)