Australian Ethical has joined five industry funds to urge asset managers to adopt the CFA Institute's code of conduct.
Six Australian super funds signed an open letter on 15 March calling for asset managers to adhere to the CFA Institute’s Asset Manager Code of Conduct.
The six signatories to the letter were AustralianSuper, First State Super, Australian Ethical, Sunsuper, VicSuper and Kinetic Super.
The funds join a number of other Australian firms that have already claimed compliance with the code, such as Aberdeen Asset Management, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, IFM Investors, Janus Henderson Investors Australia, and QIC.
The code asks asset managers to act professionally and ethically at all times, to act for the benefit of clients with independence, objectivity, skill, competence and diligence, to communicate effectively, and to “uphold rules governing capital markets”.
CFA Societies Australia Advocacy Council chair Stephen Dunne said the code represented “industry best standards globally” and that asset owners’ support would “spur” managers to consider complying with the code.
“The letter is especially relevant in Australia with its unique mandated superannuation system, which makes every single Australian an investor and creates an even greater moral imperative for asset managers to adopt the code,” Mr Dunne said.
Speaking to InvestorDaily, Australian Ethical managing director Phil Vernon spoke of the "awesome responsibility" of investment professionals to care for the "nest eggs of thousands, indeed millions of Australians".
"It is critical that we always place the needs of our members and clients first, that we hold ourselves and others in the industry to the highest standards of diligence, transparency, risk awareness and ethical behaviour.
"We were quick to support the CFA open letter, as it provides another opportunity to build upon our 30-year track record of advocacy for more ethical behaviour in the corporate and broader community," Mr Vernon said.
AustralianSuper chief investment officer Mark Delaney added that the code played a "key role" in holding outsourced providers to common standards.
"AustralianSuper has long been a supporter of the CFA Code of Conduct for asset managers," Mr Delaney said.
"We require all our externally appointed fund managers to adhere to the professional and ethical responsibilities of the code, and expect managers to manage their internal processes and policies in line with that of the code.”