NYSTRS leaves UNPRI but remains committed to governance

James GiffordThe New York State Teachers Retirement System has voluntarily withdrawn active participation in the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) initiative but will continue to support strong corporate governance principles through memberships in the Council of Institutional Investors and Ceres.

Executive director of PRI, James Gifford, acknowledged that the reporting requirements for UNPRI were quite onerous requiring a certain degree of internal resources, however a spokesman for NYSTRS, John Cardillo, would not confirm this was the reason for leaving.

Five signatories were also delisted in the past year because they were unable to complete the annual reporting and assessment, which is a minimum condition of remaining a signatory. They were DESBAN, Christopher Reynolds Foundation, Foresters Community Finance, Oasis Group Holdings and Trinity Holdings.

Rapaki Property Group and MMA also voluntarily left in the past year.

Members of the US-based Council of Institutional Investors include large, mid-size and small public, union and
corporate pension funds with combined assets that exceed $3 trillion.

The Ceres is a coalition of investor groups, environmental organisations and investment funds that engage directly with companies on environmental and social issues.

Other funds have left the PRI in the past, including Infinity, Scoris and Conscious Capital, with a PRI spokesperson citing organisational change as the most common reason.

There are now 573 signatories to PRI, including 182 asset owners, 282 investment managers and 109 professional service partners – with 93 new signatories in the past year.

The PRI initiative will consult with its signatories in the next year regarding the transparency framework, which will become part of the mandatory reporting and assessment process from 2011.