Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fidelity: the big bad wolf?

I haven't had a pop at Fidelity Fund managers for a while. So being Christmas and all that...I thought it was about time I had a go at one of the biggest single political donors to the Conservative Party.

Now, Fidelity is a private company and if they want to give money to the Tories then fair enough. But what isn’t on is that they don’t disclose this to the clients. Not only do they not disclose it but they vote in other Companies AGM’s to give even more money to the Tories. Again without properly disclosing it. They also give money to pro-tory policy organisations, again, without properly disclosing it. Anyway, this is an email I sent this evening to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
I’ll let you know what happens.

“Dear Baroness Hogg
I wish to bring to the attention of the Financial Reporting Council my concern that fund managers Fidelity (FIL) don’t disclose their political donations to the Conservative Party as a conflict of interest under the “conflicts section” of their stewardship code statement here: https://www.fidelity.co.uk/investor/about/uk-stewardship-code/uk-stewardship-code.page?smid=geiz5krb

They make significant political donations to one UK political party (£400,000 to the Conservative Party in the last three years) yet also get to vote on resolutions seeking authority to make political donations, and in practice they have voted in favour of at least one company (Caledonia Investments) seeking to make donations to the same party. They also funded the 2011 anti-AV campaign, despite the fact that they are employed by some funds where the beneficiaries may have a different view (i.e. a majority of voters in Camden were pro AV in the referendum yet the Camden Council LGPS fund employs FIL).

I believe that Fidelity should at least disclose these donations, and the possible conflict with client views/interests, in its Stewardship Code statement. I would be grateful of your view of this matter. Yours sincerely"
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