CSR still failing to convince fund managers

Corporate social responsibility is failing to capture the minds of investors, with half the UK’s top fund managers not yet required to take it into account when making investment decisions, fresh research reveals.

The survey was unveiled last week during the 2003 Communications Directors’ Forum (CDF) by Cubitt Consulting founder and managing partner Simon Brocklebank-Fowler.

Conducted by Cubitt and research firm Equity Culture, the survey was based on interviews with 18 of the top 20 institutional fund managers, representing managed funds of over £120bn.

Two thirds of those surveyed said they were not required to consider CSR issues in investment choices. Fifty per cent said investee compliance with regulation was also not factored into the investment process, ‘although regulatory breach was taken seriously where it occurred in a high-profile way’.

The average CSR importance scores, when respondents were asked to rate its importance in an investee company on a scale of one to five, will give CSR enthusiasts further cause for concern.

When asked, fund managers and analysts erred on the side of CSR not mattering at all, and, by a narrower margin, said it was not important when reviewing existing equity holdings.

Elsewhere at the CDF, MORI director of research and head of corporate communications Stewart Lewis presented delegates with the results of the company’s research on the 24-hour media environment. He spelt out the firm’s new typology for defining consumers by their intake of media information.

There were also sessions on internal comms by Astra Zeneca director of leadership comms Wendy Russell, and Burger King International director of communications Kai Boschmann.

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