Top ethical investment manager to oversee UCL endowment fund

UCL’s finance committee has approved the appointment of a highly-rated ethical investment manager to help oversee the university’s endowment funds, which are now worth approximately 160m.

CCLA, rated A+ by the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) survey, will manage half the fund alongside Sarasin, which has hitherto been the sole manager of the funds.

From a financial perspective, the move is in recognition of the significant increase in the value of the endowment in recent years and to spread manager risk.

UCL also regards it as a significant decision in adopting a stronger position on the ethical underpinning of our investment strategy.

Both managers will adopt a more active stance on a range of ethical issues including climate change. This will mean that UCL will divest from companies that fail set criteria or decline to engage actively on these issues.

CCLA has developed what it describes as an "integrated approach" to considering climate in its management of funds. This avoids investment in companies which generate a significant amount of their revenue from the extraction of thermal coal or tar sands and has prioritised productive engagement with extractives and utilities sector companies. It supports the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change in their work with public policy makers.

CCLA is also a signatory to the Montreal Pledge, which is supported by the UN, and calls upon investors to commission a carbon footprint of their portfolio in order to help them ’better understand, quantify and manage climate related impacts, risk and opportunity.’ It has been signed by 120 investors with assets under management of over US$10trillion.