The Canberra Times reports that the investments of the ACT public service superannuation scheme have been made harder to ascertain, but no concrete moves have been made to make it more ethical.
There is a school of thought, usually held by people who don’t have many friends, that if the smart ethical money is divesting from tobacco, weapons, and child slavery firms then there are superior investment opportunities to be had in the subsequently under-priced merchants of death and human misery.
But even if you do talk too loudly at barbecues about your investments this next bit would probably strike you as a particularly useless approach:
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope ordered a review of the investments, saying he was uncomfortable with some of the companies’ work. But the Government has not instructed its investment managers to sell any shares since then, nor has it exercised voting rights at company meetings.
Treasurer Katy Gallagher said yesterday that it had, however, hired an investment consultant, Regnan, to discuss environmental, social and governance issues with companies on the Government’s behalf.
So we’re paying a consultant to wander into the offices of, say, British American Tobacco or Lockheed Martin and lecture them about the evils of their core business? In turn requiring those businesses the ACT has invested in to keep someone around who looks good in a suit doing nothing more than offering tea and biscuits to our consultant?