USS conducts member survey on SRI

The willingness of a large pension fund to conduct a survey asking its beneficiaries about their preferences with respect to socially responsible investment options is commendable. It is a step in the right direction as there is a glaring deficiency in present practices involving the management of assets, be it in pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds or private banks (and we should not forget rapidly growing Sovereign Wealth Funds).
There is a well-documented agency problem in the management of companies with a dispersed ownership, i.e. the majority of major corporations. But there is another agency problem involving the relationship between asset managers of every form and shape and the final (real) investors whose money they are safeguarding. If anything, this latter agency problem might be of more relevance as it is directly responsible for the agency problem that can be observed in the corporate sphere.
So while a survey about SRI is welcome it is but a step in the right direction. Hopefully other fund will start to follow suit and in due course the end investors will have a major say in all aspects of corporate governance.
(9 Dec 2014)