Exclusive: Five groups ousted from U.N.-backed responsible investment list – The Guardian
By Simon Jessop
LONDON (Reuters) – Five investors have been removed from the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, in the first such move by the group for those failing to meet its minimum requirements.
The PRI has amassed more than 3,000 signatories managing in excess of $100 trillion in assets since it was launched in 2006 and membership is increasingly seen as crucial for asset managers pitching for mandates from pension schemes.
But the PRI, whose members were told in 2018 they had two years to reach a new set of minimum requirements, said on Monday four asset managers and one asset owner would be delisted.
BPE, the private banking arm of France’s La Banque Postale, is the largest, with assets the PRI put at around $5 billion.
Stichting Gemeenschappelijk Beleggingsfonds FNV (GFB) which is part of the biggest Dutch labour union, Indonesia’s Corfina Capital, U.S.-based Primary Wave IP Investment Management and French-based Delta Alternative Management, which reported assets of between $40 million to $310 million, were also removed, the PRI said.
BPE said in a statement that, for legal reasons, it had not been able to comply with one of the six fundamental principles of the PRI, regarding discretionary management, but was “currently working on resolving this legal constraint in order to once again adhere to (the) PRI.”
A spokeswoman for GFB was “very disappointed” by the PRI’s decision.
The GFB holds a small part of the overall capital of the FNV union and the costs of meeting the new requirements exceeded the benefits, the spokeswoman said, adding that the majority of FNV’s capital is managed separately and will still be listed.
A spokesman for Delta Alternative Management declined to comment. The two other firms did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
The delistings follow criticism in recent years that the PRI was not doing enough to ensure members lived up to the principles, including to embed environmental, social and governance-related issues in their investment decision-making.
“We had signatories who just weren’t doing enough, and were very much there for the marketing,” PRI Chief Executive Fiona Reynolds told Reuters. “They were sort of riding on the brand and riding on what other signatories were doing.”
This first round of exclusions may not satisfy all its critics given it affects mainly small firms, while some much larger signatories are being challenged for perceived inaction when engaging with companies on climate change.
‘WAKE UP CALL’
The new standards require members to have a responsible investment policy covering at least half of all managed assets, staff responsible for implementing it and senior-level oversight.
The PRI did not say which standard the delisted firms failed.
At the start of the process, 165 PRI members were warned they did not meet the new criteria, although most improved over the course of the two years.
“I think this was a bit of a wake-up call to some people … ‘I can’t just sit here now; they’re actually upping the game and they’re taking this more seriously and I’d better get my act together’,” Reynolds said.
Of those firms originally warned, 23 chose to delist themselves for a variety of reasons, while four disputed the evidence that they had failed to meet the new requirements and successfully appealed, the PRI said, without naming them.
The PRI said it now plans to toughen membership requirements further and will launch a consultation at a meeting on Oct. 21.
Proposed changes include requiring firms’ responsible investment policies to cover 90% of assets and making that policy public. Engagement and voting would also be made mandatory for those managing equities.
(Additional reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston, Lawrence Delevingne in New York, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam and Maya Nikolaeva in Paris; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Alexander Smith)
Cryptocurrency is a worthy investment, but beware of scammers – Assiniboia Times
Cryptocurrencies are capable of achieving world trade and business at the snap of a finger – digital trade is expedient in ways once deemed impossible in the days of analogue dollars.
Digital money is superior for climbing over the barriers separating physical, government-issued pounds, dollars, euros, dinars and shekels.
Bitcoin once had the reputation of being the preferred currency for the purveyors of the Dark Web, who were buying and selling prohibitive items without government interference. Now, cryptocurrency has acquired mainstream approval from investors and the business world in general in 2020.
The convenience and speed of cryptocurrency sets this form of currency apart from traditional, pre-digital cash.
Investors or purchasers can send Canadian dollars to Europe, have them converted into euros then have the funds deposited into the accounts of their choice instantly and anonymously at competitive exchange rates. Often, cryptocurrency investors pay only a couple of dollars or less in fees.
Bitcoin – the most familiar cryptocurrency – was invented in 2008 by an unknown person (or persons) with the anonymous name of Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin entered the world markets in 2009, when this digital-based currency was released as open-source software.
Bitcoin used peer-to-peer technology. Central authorities never manage digital transactions using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Banks and governments don’t own or control Bitcoin, since this digital currency is designated as being open-source, otherwise known as software derived from the original source code, becoming available for redistribution – sometimes featuring modifications with fees attached.
Cryptocurrency is used for quick peer-to-peer transactions and worldwide payments on a growing footing. The practicality, anonymity and low processing fees attached to Bitcoin, Ethereum and thousands of other cryptocurrencies are making them hot items on international markets.
Investors are advised to have diverse portfolios if they invest in cryptocurrencies, in case the prices of their investments crash. Bitcoin is one of the most successful digital assets, reportedly with a market capitalization of close to $180 billion as of September 2019. This cryptocurrency effectively created several millionaires since being launched in 2009.
With financial success comes criminal ingenuity.
Cryptocurrency scammers arrived on the scene as digital-led economy grew, hoping to produce marks out of novice investors who didn’t realize the differences between their Tethers and Chainlinks.
Writing for COINTELEGRAPH, Joseph Young reported on a story from Sept. 27 about an unknown hacker behind the KuCoin breach, who was trying to unload stolen ERC-20 tokens on Uniswap – a decentralized exchange network opened in November 2018 and intended for cryptocurrency traders and investors.
However, blockchain technology has assisted investigators in tracing Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, meaning digital money can’t be laundered or stolen as easily as the online thieves and hustlers might think.
If proper enquiries into the origins of stolen or laundered digital funds are followed through, online crimes involving cryptocurrency can be rectified through studying the blockchain links. A blockchain represents a list of records linked to secure communications, such as cryptocurrency transactions. Blockchains contain timestamps and transaction data and are purposed to add security to digital funds.
Aside from attempts at blatant theft and laundering, phone and online scams are used to trick people into making false cryptocurrency investments.
Tim Falk in the online magazine Finder offered advice on detecting crypto scams in an article written on May 26, 2020.
Non-legitimate cryptocurrency websites have addresses beginning with http instead of https – the data sent to these websites isn’t secure.
The word “Secure” or a padlock image should appear on the website’s address bar.
Search for spelling and grammar mistakes on the website, along with awkward phasing.
If the website promises unrealistic returns, consider this a scammer’s opportunity lying in wait.
Search for an “About Us” page to discover the story behind each website for investors who are seeking to extend their portfolios.
Search for reviews. Study other investment pages and see what the cryptocurrency community is saying about them prior to investing. Find who the registered owners of the domains or websites are. Avoid websites who lure others with celebrity endorsements. Finally, unsolicited messages sent through emails or social media regarding cryptocurrency investments should be binned and the senders should be reported and blocked.
Canada's pension fund plans to invest a third of funds in emerging markets by 2025. India is a major component – CNBC
SINGAPORE — Canada’s massive pension fund plans to invest up to a third of its funds in emerging markets over the next five years and India is an important destination, according to a senior executive.
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) manages about 434.4 billion Canadian dollars ($329.75 billion) as of June 30. A bulk of its investments are in North America — around 34% of total assets are allocated in the United States — followed by Asia.
“We expect to invest up to one third of the Fund in emerging markets by 2025 and India is a key component of that,” Suyi Kim, CPPIB’s Asia Pacific head, told CNBC by email.
“Our investments in India span different asset classes including infrastructure, real estate, public and private equities, funds and co-investments and credit,” Kim said, adding, “We see domestic consumption, technology and increasing demand for infrastructure to support the growth underpinning many of the themes and opportunities we look at in India.”
CEO Mark Machin recently told CNBC that the pension fund was reviewing its bond holdings in light of near zero interest rates.
CPPIB has an office in India. Some of its investments there include a stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank as well as $225 million to the India Resurgence Fund, which invests in distressed assets in the country.
In December, CPPIB said it agreed to invest up to $600 million in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund that included a $150 million commitment in NIIF’s Master Fund and co-investment rights of up to $450 million in future opportunities.
India’s growth issues
The growth rate of South Asia’s largest economy took a hit over the last few years following important currency and tax reforms that were said to have disproportionately affected small businesses and people in the informal sector.
The coronavirus pandemic this year dashed early signs of recovery as India went into a nationwide lockdown between late-March and May as part of its efforts to slow the infection’s spread. Still, India is now the second most-affected country in the world behind the United States, with more than 5.9 million reported cases and over 94,000 deaths.
Growth for the three months from April to June fell 23.9%.
The financial sector — already in crisis for several years — faces an erosion of loan growth and higher credit costs as it prepares for a rise in bad debt from retail and corporate borrowers. Experts previously told CNBC that if the sector decides to stop lending to borrowers with low credit scores, or charge them a much higher interest on loans, it could delay India’s economic recovery.
“The ongoing credit issues in the financial services industry, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact on the economy, also present interesting investment opportunities to provide long-term, stable capital to select financial institutions and companies to finance India’s next growth cycle,” CPPIB’s Kim said.
Last week, ratings agency S&P Global said India’s banking sector, which entered the pandemic with an overhang of nonperforming assets, will see a slow recovery to pre-Covid levels that could stretch beyond 2023.
“We have taken negative rating actions on Indian banks and (non-banking financial institutions) as operating conditions have deteriorated through the crisis,” S&P Global said in a report, “Global Banking: Recovery Will Stretch To 2023 And Beyond.”
“The Indian banking sector is considered a late-exiter. Its recovery will be longer, but some ratios may return more quickly to pre-COVID-19 levels as they were weak prior to the onset of COVID-19 (in contrast with many other jurisdictions),” the ratings agency said.
CPPIB’s Kim said that beyond India, the Canadian pension fund sees investment opportunities in Greater China, South Korea, Japan and Australia.
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