A number of leading ethical investment funds still hold shares in the Grenfell fire company Kingspan
A number of leading ethical investment funds still hold shares in Irish building materials company Kingspan.
This is despite the fact that unacceptable behavior within British insulation activities was highlighted in the investigation of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people – shortcomings that led to the K15 flammable insulation boards being used in the tower’s cladding. The company has “apologized unconditionally.”
Analysis conducted by investment firm SCM Direct for The Mail on Sunday shows that many large ethical funds still hold significant stakes in Kingspan. Based on Bloomberg shareholder data, SCM Direct says ethical funds managed by Baillie Gifford, Guinness Asset Management, Impax, Liontrust, Pictet and Schroder all have stakes in the company.
Tragedy: The Grenfell Tower fire killed 72 people and is currently the subject of an investigation
For example, the £ 675 million Liontrust UK Ethical fund holds a 3.4 percent stake, while the £ 725 million Liontrust Sustainable Future UK Growth fund has a 2.8 percent stake. Until the end of last year, the £ 2 billion Baillie Gifford Positive Change fund held Kingspan as a top ten stake, with 3.9 percent of its assets in the company. But last month it lowered this bet.
Retired marketing manager Michael Heppner, from North London, is a big fan of Baillie Gifford and has several interests in his investment funds and trusts. He was about to invest in Positive Change until he saw it had a stake in Kingspan. “How can such an unethical company be included in the portfolio of an ethical investment fund?” he asks.
Baillie Gifford told the MoS: “We have discussed the Grenfell Tower investigation with Kingspan and are continuing to monitor the situation closely. We cannot respond further while the investigation is ongoing. ‘
Liontrust said its sustainable investment team has been investing in Kingspan for over 15 years. But it said the revelations of the investigation had raised “serious concerns about the culture and controls” within Kingspan’s company. It had now ‘lowered’ the company’s sustainability rating, halted further investment in Kingspan and requested a meeting with management.
SCM Direct’s Alan Miller says investment funds should be required to disclose all their holdings to the public on a regular basis, as this would allow ethical investors to “judge whether or not they want to hold a fund containing stocks such as Kingspan.”