Implementation of initiatives for the promotion of responsibility regarding investment in state bonds

Date 19 jul. 2012
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The Minister for Business and Growth has together with representatives from the Danish Insurance Association (In Danish: Forsikring & Pension), the Danish Bankers Association (In Danish: Finansrådet), the Federation of Danish Investment Associations (In Danish: Investeringsforeningsrådet), LD and ATP agreed upon implementation of a series of initiatives relating to investment in state bonds.


Background

The initiatives for promotion of responsibility in connection with investment in state bonds are implemented as a consequence of the recent debate on whether and under which conditions Danish institutional investors, including especially pension companies, should invest in certain countries’ state bonds.


The initiatives partly concern which guidelines the institutional investors should follow and partly improvements of the investors’ conditions in relation to investment in state bonds.


The Initiatives

The initiatives partly implies that the investors in connection with future investments in state bonds should follow UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (“PRI”) which contain six principles for responsible investments and partly that investors in relation herewith should participate actively in PRI Sovereign Fixed Income Working Group, which is preparing a report on investment in state bonds. In addition, the investors should publicly inform about their politics for investment in state bonds, this could e.g. take place in the annual reports.   


The six principles in the UN’s PRI are built on the so-called ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). Referring to the principles, ESG must be incorporated in the investors’ investor analysis, in their decision-making processes and in their politics for ownership.


The investors’ conditions for investing in state bonds are mainly strengthened by the Minister for Business and Growth requesting the Danish Council on Corporate Social Responsibility (In Danish: Rådet for Samfundsansvar) to prepare instructions regarding investment in state bonds. The instructions must instruct on which criteria the investors should emphasise in relation to investment in state bonds, how the investors should respond to dilemmas appearing in connection with investment in state bonds and in which way the investors can inform about their politics. The instruction must comply with international guidelines and must be coordinated with the work made by the PRI Sovereign Fixed Income Working Group.


Finally, easily accessible and updated information on countries which have been sanctioned by the UN or the EC, including, in particular, sanctions prohibiting financial transactions with the relevant countries.


The Significance of the Initiatives

The implemented initiatives will give the institutional investors a better basis for making investments in state bonds and will make it easier for these investors to deal with dilemmas arising in relation to the investments.


It should be noted that the initiatives has been submitted in agreement between the parties in question and at present there is no legal requirement to comply with the mentioned initiatives.



If you have any questions or require additional information on investment in state bonds, please contact attorney Dan Moalem (dmo@mwblaw.dk) or attorney Henning Hedegaard Thomsen (hht@mwblaw.dk).


The above does not constitute legal counselling and Moalem Weitemeyer Bendtsen does not warrant the accuracy of the information. With the above text, Moalem Weitemeyer Bendtsen has not assumed responsibility of any kind as a consequence of a reader’s use of the above as a basis of decisions or considerations.