After my last email in September 2013 to Mo Hemsley, Acting Chief Finance Officer for East Sussex County Council, I have received a response 6 months later from Mo about the investment practices of the East Sussex County Council Pension Fund (Mo apologised for the delay – it was due to Mo taking extended sick leave).
If you read Mo’s brief response (.pdf) you can see that it answers almost none of the questions in my original two emails. This is very frustrating and I am currently thinking about how to respond – any suggestions are welcome. As previously pointed out, the Brighton & Hove Green Party have been pressing to change the investment practices of the ESCC Pension Fund for a long time (at least since 2002), however they have frequently been ignored. Any ideas on new approaches to responding to the latest email from Mo are very welcome. I will also be sending my response to the Councillors on the ESCC Pension Fund Investment Panel (as I have done with the previous emails below).
UPDATE: Please see the latest correspondence between the ESCC Pension Fund Panel and me (December 2014 – February 2015)
For the timeline of these email exchanges:
4th April 2014 – Response from Mo Hemsley
30th September 2013 – Response to Mo Hemsley, the Acting Chief Finance Officer for East Sussex County Council
13 September 2013 – Response from ESCC Pension Fund to previous email
31st July 2013 – Original Email to the ESCC Pension Fund
The content of the letter from Mo Hemsley from 4th April 2014 (the .pdf is here):
Dear Mr Jones,
Many thanks for your e-mail and I believed a response was sent to you on my behalf on 16th December 2013, which confirmed that my response to you in my letter dated 13th
September 2013 appropriately dealt with issues raised in your e-mail.
However, following my previous response to your e-mail, the East Sussex Pension Fund has since become a member of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF –
website link below). This forum is the UK’s leading collaborative shareholder/members/officers engagement group, which seeks to protect and enhance the value of its members’ shareholdings by way of share holder engagement, by action on corporate governance issues and by seeking to promote the highest standards of corporate social responsibility at the companies in which LAPFF members invest.
In pursuing its aim to protect and enhance shareholder value, the Forum will –
• seeks to optimise LA pension funds’ influence as shareholders to promote high standards of Corporate Governance (CG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
• facilitates commissioning of research and policy analysis of issues relating to areas of concern more effectively than individual members
• provides a forum for consultation on shareholder initiatives, information exchange and discussion about investment issues
• provides a forum to consider any issues of common interest to all pension fund administrators and trustees (e.g. the results of actuarial valuations; the arguments for and against stock lending and the operation of the Freedom of Information Act, Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues, et c.)
The Forum’s work continue to ensure that companies have the right policies and right people in place to create value for shareholders over the long term and has adopted a more high-profile and interventionist approach to shareholder engagement.
Please note that I have now returned back to work and responsibilities for the East Sussex Pension Fund (ESPF) administration now lies with Marion Kelly, the Council’s Chief Finance Officer.
Thank you for your keen interest in the ESPF and for your kind cooperation.
Assistant Director, Service Finance