THE Central Finance Board of
the Methodist Church (CFB) is to take a firmer line against
companies in which it invests when they fail to appoint women to
The CFB, which manages about
£1 billion of assets on behalf of the Methodist Church in England
and Wales, issued a statement on Monday in which it said that it
had revised its voting policy for the AGMs of companies in which it
"In future, it will vote
against the reappointment of all directors responsible for
boardroom recruitment in FTSE 100 companies if there are no women
on the board and no plans to put that right," it said. "This
represents a change to the previous practice."
The CFB is also toughening
its stance on companies that fail to report their greenhouse-gas
emissions clearly. "At the AGMs of the worst offenders, it will now
abstain rather than vote for the key director responsible for
reviewing sustainability performance," the statement said.
CFB's senior fund-manager,
Stephen Beer, said that many companies were making "good progress"
in appointing women to board-level positions, and in reporting
greenhouse-gas emissions. This made it "difficult to explain why
some companies have no women board members or do not disclose their
greenhouse-gas emissions clearly".
The CFB will also be keeping
an eye on executive pay at the companies in which it invests. In
2012, it voted against 79 executive remuneration reports, abstained
on 40, and voted for 13.
Mr Beer said: "Too many
remuneration policies are lax in this area, awarding high pay for
indifferent performance. We also consider company policy towards
its lowest-paid employees, where in the UK we want companies to
adopt the living wage."
The Church of England
Ethical Investment Advisory Group advises the Church's investment
bodies to challenge companies that award unduly high bonuses (
News, 19 April).
Question of the Week: Is the
Methodist policy on board-level women and on remuneration a wise