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Newham considers VC investment

The £380m London Borough of Newham pension fund is considering tendering a venture capital mandate.

Kevin Miles, investment manager at the fund, said that the investment committee would be discussing the possibility of VC investment at its next meeting. He said the fund needed to consider its approach and would be receiving information from its adviser on the possible strategy. He added that though there was no decision yet on the size of mandate that would be tendered it was unlikely to be bigger that £1m to £1.5m.

The fund is also likely to review its socially responsible investment strategy later in the year. As part of a long-standing policy the fund currently screens out investment in companies which make more than 50 per cent of their income from involvement in tobacco. It is currently asking its fund managers to provide more information on their shareholder voting actions in order to monitor their policy.

Miles said that the fund may look to review the sections of its statement of investment principles dealing with corporate governance and SRI later in the year. He said any review was likely to involve a consultation with interested parties such as pensioner members.

Newham is not alone in using consultation as part of developing investment strategy. The £400m London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham pension scheme is taking the innovative step of consulting local taxpayers on its planned fund-wide socially responsible investment strategy.

The fund is in the process of creating a consultation document that it will send out to around 1,000 people asking for their opinions on factors that should be taken into account when the fund develops its SRI strategy. But while the fund is canvassing views from both active members and pensioners, it will also be contacting local residents for their views.

Source: www.ii-Q.com, the connection for intelligent investors