Local MP calls for more responsible business
Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood today met with financial leaders at an event to promote responsible business investment. The meeting was hosted by Hermes Fund Managers chief executive Saker Nusseibeh who described the growing disconnection between wealthy financial services firms and the savers and taxpayers who have helped to bail them out but many of whom are suffering real hardship themselves.
Speaking at the meeting, Martin said, "there is wide agreement that companies and investors should exercise social and environmental responsibility, promote a more equal society, support new start-up firms and not just circulate money amongst City firms. But the challenge is how to get them to do this. Most of the financial services industry is entirely focussed on short-term returns."
He added: "There are some terrific examples of companies in Cheltenham with great environmental and social records including Commercial, Brightsource and Bence's. But very few people would know how to choose a private pension or a savings product that encourages that kind of behaviour."
"The coalition government has begun to act on corporate responsibility but we need to make it much easier for people to express a view on how their savings and pensions are invested."
The Queen's Speech included a commitment from LibDem business secretary Vince Cable to publish a register of beneficial ownership of UK companies to make clearer who really owns them, an important step towards greater accountability for their actions.