law regulations paper flat illustration
bakhtiarzein/123RF

Policy-makers in the U.K. are exploring ways to ensure that firms that invest on behalf of clients are good stewards of those investments. The move is part of an overall effort to promote sustainable, long-term investment.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published two papers today that aim to encourage effective stewardship, which the regulator defines as actively overseeing the assets that firms invest in, and where they choose to invest.

“These activities support the functioning of the U.K.’s financial markets by enhancing their quality and integrity, and they contribute to sustainable, long-term value creation,” the FCA states in the discussion paper, which was issued jointly with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The paper seeks to advance the debate about what represents effective stewardship. It also examines minimum expectations for financial services firms that invest for clients, and discusses what the standards should be and how best to achieve them. In developing standards, the paper says, the U.K. can lead the development of global best practices for investment stewardship.

“Good stewardship is about effective investment for the longer term,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, in a release. “As a result, we want to see those managing investments to take a close interest in how the businesses they invest in are operating, so they can hold them to account when things aren’t right,”.

In a separate paper, the FCA proposed measures to implement shareholder rights rules for regulated life insurers and asset managers.