Standard Life Investments lifts the lid on Governance & Stewardship

27 February 2013

Standard Life Investments, the global investment manager, has published its first ever Annual Review of Governance & Stewardship. The Review aims to provide an insightful and informative account of how Standard Life Investments fulfils its engagement and voting responsibilities and sets out its views on the changing governance landscape.

Standard Life Investments believes that responsibility and accountability go hand in hand, and it is important that it is as transparent as possible about how it has fulfilled its stewardship responsibilities.

Commenting at the launch of Standard Life Investments’ review of its governance and stewardship engagement for 2012, Guy Jubb, Global Head of Governance & Stewardship, said:

"The need for change and improvement in governance and stewardship is beyond dispute. That said, it is important that policymakers appreciate the risks as well as the benefits associated with the changes that are being proposed. It is vital that they strike the right balance that will enable businesses to prosper and, at the same time, strengthen accountability, governance and stewardship in a cost effective way.

"Change does have consequences. Time will tell whether the current raft of changes will result in 'change for good'. On balance, we believe they will strengthen the governance and stewardship environment. The onus will be on investors to use their rights to hold boards to account and thereby improve long-term sustainable returns.

Mr Jubb concluded:

"Looking forward, boards should demonstrate how they maintain not only high standards of business practice but also maintain the values that they espouse throughout their companies. We shall be looking to boards to provide a convincing account as to how they ensure that the 'tone from the top' is communicated effectively. During 2013 and beyond, we believe that actions are likely to speak louder than words."

The Standard Life Investments 2012 Annual Review of Governance & Stewardship includes details of companies where Standard Life Investments has been influential in achieving change, for example Barclays, Xstrata and 3i Group and highlights voting at Aviva, AstraZeneca and Mitchells & Butlers.