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Asset stewardship code unveiled by ACSI

Asset stewardship code unveiled by ACSI

Tim Stewart
— 1 minute read

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has launched a stewardship code that lays out principles for voting activity, company engagement and asset manager monitoring.

The Australian Asset Owner Stewardship Code was announced at the ACSI annual conference in Sydney yesterday.

The code, which was developed by ACSI in consultation with its members and stakeholders, features stewardship activities, including exercising voting rights, company engagement, monitoring asset managers and financial system advocacy.

ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said: "There is a growing desire for information about how asset owners manage the money entrusted to them."

"The code raises the bar on signatories to proactively manage and disclose their stewardship activities. Beneficiaries and other stakeholders will find it easier to understand and assess the focus that asset owners have on good stewardship," she said.

The stewardship code sets out six principles which signatories must commit to on an 'if not, why not' basis:

  1. Publicly disclose how they approach their stewardship responsibilities.
  2. Publicly disclose their policy for voting at company meetings and voting activity.
  3. Engage with companies either directly, indirectly (for example, via collective action or third-party providers) or both.
  4. Monitor asset managers’ stewardship activities.
  5. Encourage better alignment of the operation of the financial system and regulatory policy with the financial interests of long-term investors.
  6. Report to beneficiaries about their stewardship activities.

Signatories will be required to publish a 'Stewardship Statement' describing how they apply the principles, with a list of signatories maintained on the ACSI website.

Industry funds Hostplus and HESTA both publicly committed to the code shortly after its release yesterday, with Hostplus to become a signatory at the end of the year.

 

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