Lecturers to press USS on ethics of pensions

November 6, 1998

Lecturers will raise concerns over ethical investment of pension funds at next week's annual institutions meeting of the Universities' Superannuation Scheme.

Alan Carling, past president of the Association of Teachers at the University of Bradford and a supporter of the Ethics for USS campaign, will call on pension fund trustees to ensure they are aware of the ethical stance of companies in which they are shareholders.

He said: "We would be looking for the USS board to have a comprehensive policy of ethical investment consistent with the duty of trustees towards USS members."

The AUT passed a motion at its last annual conference to support the Ethics for USS campaign, started after lecturers discovered their pension fund was a major investor in Shell, a company criticised by human rights organisations for its failure to stop the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

An AUT spokeswoman said: "Our policy has always been for ethical investment with the proviso that it does not jeopardise the purpose the fund is there for."

David Chynoweth, USS chief executive, said: "We always make sure managements are aware of our adherence to the principles of good corporate governance. But we do not believe we are in a position to dictate the day-to-day policies of individual companies."

Thursday's meeting will also hear a paper on the future of the USS following Dearing's recommendation that all academics join a single scheme.

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