Stewardship Survey Results

At the June meeting of the Investment and Pension Fund Committee, it was agreed that a survey of fund members be undertaken to feed into the Fund’s policies on stewardship and climate change. The survey was launched at the end of June and closed on 21st August.

A total of 4,278 pension fund members responded. This equates to around 3.2% of total fund members. The results of the survey are appended below.

Breakdown of Pension Fund Members who responded to the survey
Active 1477 Pensioner 2059 Deferred 742

Active Members 1,477

Pensioner Members 2,059

Deferred Members 742

Investment Strategy – Your Views

Please rate each of the following, in terms of importance to you, in how the Devon Pension Fund manages its investments (1 = No importance / Don’t Know, 2 = Minor Importance, 3 = Fairly Important, 4 = Significant Importance, 5 = Very important)

Maximising investment returns at an appropriate level of risk

Very Important 2339 Significant Importance 1181 Fairly Important 578 Minor Importance 92 No importance 75

Average Score: 4.32

Investing in companies that are seeking to transition their business in response to climate change

Very Important 1530 Significant Importance 1156 Fairly Important 949 Minor Importance 328 No importance 307

Average Score: 3.77

Reducing the carbon footprint of the Fund’s investments

Very Important 1596 Significant Importance 1123 Fairly Important 902 Minor Importance 352 No importance 298

Average Score: 3.79

Divesting from companies with reserves of fossil fuels

Very Important 1261 Significant Importance 894 Fairly Important 1143 Minor Importance 508 No importance 456

Average Score: 3.47

Engaging with companies on a wide range of responsible investment issues, e.g. climate change, human rights, social impact, employment standards, diversity of company board, etc.

Very Important 1728 Significant Importance 1166 Fairly Important 825 Minor Importance 301 No importance 241

Average Score: 3.90

Keeping down the management fees paid to the fund management companies who manage the Devon Pension Fund’s investments

Very Important 2178 Significant Importance 1272 Fairly Important 628 Minor Importance 118 No importance 69

Average Score: 4.26

Maintaining a specific investment allocation in the United Kingdom as opposed to global investments

Very Important 850 Significant Importance 1169 Fairly Important 1371 Minor Importance 508 No importance 359

Average Score: 3.39

Please rank the above issues in order of importance to you (1= most important, 2 = next most important, etc.)

Overall Order Top priority Maximise Investment Return 2nd priority Invest in transitioning companies 3rd priority Reduce carbon footprint 4th priority Engage on a wide range of issues 5th priority Keep down management fees 6th priority Divest from fossil fuel companies 7th priority Maintain UK investment

Please rank the following issues in order of importance to you in how the Fund engages with and/or selects the companies in which it invests

Overall Order Top priority Climate Change 2nd priority Human Rights 3rd priority Employment Standards 4th priority Diversity of Board 5th priority Bio-Diversity 6th priority Effective Audit 7th priority Tobacco 8th priority Arms Manufacturing

Are there any other issues of concern that you would like to highlight?

The following issues were highlighted by at least 10 people:

  • Investment in Russia
  • Animal Welfare
  • Modern Slavery / Child Labour
  • Gender equality
  • Investment in China
  • Taxation (companies paying tax appropriately)
  • Political donations / impartiality

Awareness and Interest

Please rate each of the following, in terms of your awareness and interest (1 = No interest/awareness, 2 = Little interest/awareness, 3 = Some interest/awareness, 4 = Significant interest/awareness, 5 = Strong interest/awareness)

What level of interest do you have in how the Pension Fund invests the money held to pay pensions?

Strong Interest 702 Significant Interest 1232 Some Interest 1813 Little Interest 396 No Interest 125

Are you aware of the Fund’s policies on addressing climate change through its investments?

Strong Awareness 151 Significant Awareness 437 Some Awareness 1445 Little Awareness 1153 No Awareness 1072

Have you seen the Devon Pension Fund Annual Report 2020/21, including the sections on investment performance, stewardship and climate change?

Yes 1296 No 2965

Prior to this survey, were you aware of the Fund’s website –

Yes 2706 No 1555

Were you aware of the Devon Pension Fund Annual Consultative Meeting for pension fund members, held in February?

Yes, I attended (In person or on-line) 33 Yes, I didn't attend but have looked at the recording 95 Yes, I was aware but could not attend 1309 Yes, I was aware but not interested in attending 1446 No, I was not aware 1387

Do you have any further comments you wish to make on the Devon Pension Fund’s investment policies?

448 people (around 10%) provided further comments on the survey. These ranged from those supportive of divestment from certain investments to those who wanted the fund to promote change by engagement to those who wanted the Fund to concentrate on maximising investment returns to the exclusion of all other considerations.