Friday, December 02, 2011

LAPFF Conference 2011: The Continuing Crisis

Another early start on Thursday to get to the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) 16th annual conference in Bournemouth from East London for 9am. LAPFFexists to promote the investment interests of local authority pension funds, and to maximise their influence as shareholders whilst promoting social responsibility and corporate governance at the companies in which they invest....Formed in 1990....combined assets of over £100 billion”.

It is of course quite ironic that this conference took place less than 24 hours after I had been on a (number of) picket lines in the biggest industrial dispute since 1926 over pensions.

Both of the local government pensions schemes I have an “interest” in are members of LAPFF. This year for the first time I was at the conference as a Councillor rather than as a Staff side representative. Which caused some confusion. I’ll try and post on as many of the excellent presentations and debates as possible. If you are a member of a local authority pension committee or panel in any capacity (and any Party or Union) then this is the conference to come to. It is politically non-partisan which in this context I think is very much a good thing.

Tom Watson MP was to be the opening speaker but his mum has fallen ill so he has had to send his apologies. The Chair of LAPFF Cllr Ian Greenwood and PIRC Tom Powdrill instead did a presentation on “The Hacking Scandal: Lessons for Investors”.  

LAPFF have been trying to remove James Murdock (son of Rupert) as Chair of BSkyB not so much with regard to the appalling behaviour of News of the World reporters etc but concern about his independence and the reputational risk to our investments and what this is doing to shareholder value. For example will OFCOM still consider NewsCorp to be a fit and proper shareholder of BSkyB? If they don’t - what impact will this have to Pension fund investments in BSkyB?

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