Schroders back on Britain's asset manager best practice list



By Huw Jones and Carolyn Cohn

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - Schroders is back on Britain's code of best practice roll call for asset managers, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said on Thursday, after a surge of applicants underscored the intense competition to attract sustainability investments.

The volume of money going into products that tout their environment, social and governance ESG attractions has risen significantly, raising fears among regulators of greenwashing, or inflating ESG credentials to attract investment money.

Schroders and several other big names in asset management were absent from the FRC list last September when the watchdog for the first time published those allowed to be signatories to its new tougher code Link

The code sets out principles on transparency, engagement with companies and on disclosing which ESG issues asset managers prioritised in assessing investments.

The FRC said on Thursday that the number of signatories has risen to 199 in 2022 from 125 in 2021, after 74 out of 105 applications successfully demonstrated, backed by evidence, how they applied the code over the past 12 months.

The expanded list Link now covers 31 trillion pounds ($40.76 trillion) of assets under management, up from 21 trillion.

"We are pleased that many previously unsuccessful organisations have provided stronger and better tailored explanations on how they apply the Code," said Mark Babington, FRC executive director for regulatory standards.

Schroders said at the time it was frustrated not to be a signatory, with feedback from the FRC indicating this was down to format rather than substance.

"Schroders has been a long-term supporter of the FRC’s Stewardship code and we are pleased to be a signatory once again,” a spokesperson said.

Other blue-chip names absent last year included T. Rowe Price, Allianz Global Investors, Columbia Threadneedle, Northern Trust Asset Management, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Pimco.

The FRC said T. Rowe Price, Morgan Stanley and Pimco also made it onto this year's list.

($1 = 0.7606 pounds)
Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jason Neely

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