A coalition of long-term, global institutional and private investors with combined assets of more than $4.83 trillion has come together to create and promote Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry. The five principles provide a framework for institutional investors seeking to improve engagement with public and private companies globally that manufacture, distribute, sell or regulate products within the civilian firearms industry in order to address gun safety issues and reduce investment risk.
Signatories include: the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS); the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS); Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds; Florida State Board of Administration; Maine Public Employees Retirement System; Maryland State Retirement and Pension System; Nuveen, the asset manager of TIAA; OIP Investment Trust; Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund; Rockefeller Asset Management; San Francisco Employees Retirement System; State Street Global Advisors; and Wespath Investment Management.
We have a fiduciary obligation to our beneficiaries to invest prudently as well as to take responsible actions as asset owners and managers to monitor and manage risks accordingly, said CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman. This is not a political statement about constitutional rights; it is a joint assertion by all of the involved signatories that investors have a stake in advancing public safety.
Ailman added: Most importantly, these principles are an engagement solution to divestment and meant to stimulate productive dialog within the industry. Working together, we can build and leverage solid relationships as we make progress toward mitigating risks, not only to the civilian firearms industry, but also on behalf of our investments.
The principles serve as engagement points for investors seeking to protect and enhance long-term portfolio values by ensuring risks are being appropriately monitored and addressed. They are not prescriptive in any way and each signatory will interpret and apply them on their own as they see fit. The principles are:
- Principle 1: Manufacturers should support, advance and integrate the development of technology designed to make civilian firearms safer, more secure, and easier to trace.
- Principle 2: Manufacturers should adopt and follow responsible business practices that establish and enforce responsible dealer standards and promote training and education programs for owners designed around firearms safety.
- Principle 3: Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should establish, promote, and follow best practices to ensure that no firearm is sold without a completed background check in order to prevent sales to persons prohibited from buying firearms or those too dangerous to possess firearms.
- Principle 4: Civilian firearms distributors, dealers, and retailers should educate and train their employees to better recognize and effectively monitor irregularities at the point of sale, to record all firearm sales, to audit firearms inventory on a regular basis, and to proactively assist law enforcement.
- Principle 5: Participants in the civilian firearms industry should work collaboratively, communicate, and engage with the signatories of these Principles to design, adopt, and disclose measures and metrics demonstrating both best practices and their commitment to promoting these Principles.
The principles were conceived earlier this year when Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow Christianna Wood and CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman convened a group of asset owners, asset managers, and financial institutions to design pragmatic principles for portfolio company engagement in the firearms industry that both gun manufacturers and retailers could embrace.
Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow Christianna Wood added, Working with Chris Ailman and CalSTRS to convene these institutional investors at Harvard to write these Principles was just the beginning. We invite and call upon global institutional investors of all types to become signatories to these Firearms Principles in an effort to reduce risks and encourage progress in addressing gun safety issues in America.
Ailman added: As investors, were focused on taking steps to reduce risks while increasing the long-term value of the companies in which we invest. But as individuals, we are also deeply saddened by the gun-related tragedies our country is experiencing. We hope these principles serve as the start of a new conversation to address gun safety in the civilian firearms industry, and we look forward to progress through the reasonable and broad framework for engagement they provide.
Institutional investors and asset owners that share a similar risk viewpoint surrounding the civilian firearms industry are invited to demonstrate their support of these principles by becoming a signatory. Interested investors may send an email to [email protected]STRS.com for more information on how they can become a signatory supporting these principles.
For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.9 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS’ total fund market value currently stands at approximately $362 billion.
The California State Teachers Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $229 billion as of September 30, 2018, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS serves Californias more than 933,000 public school educators and their families from the states 1,700 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts. A hybrid retirement system, CalSTRS administers a combined traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plan. CalSTRS also provides disability and survivor benefits.
About Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds
The $35-billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds consists of six Pension Funds and nine Trust Funds. As principal fiduciary of the CRPTF, Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier is responsible for managing the invested assets for approximately 219,000 state and municipal employees, teachers, retirees and survivorships who are pension plan participants and beneficiaries as well as for trust funds that support academic programs, grants, and initiatives throughout the State. Treasurer Nappier established the corporate governance program for the Office of the Treasurer at the start of her administration in 1999. The goal of the program is to protect and enhance the economic long-term value of investments made by the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds (CRPTF).
About Florida State Board of Administration
The State Board of Administration is a body of Florida’s state government that provides a variety of investment services to many governmental entities. Total asset under management as of September 30, 2018 were $202.6 billion. These included the assets of the Florida Retirement System, the SBAs largest mandates with in excess of $174.2 billion in assets between the Pension Plan and Investment Plan, serving an active membership of more than 600,000 participants and a retired membership of more than 300,000 participants. Additionally, the SBA manages the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund (Florida PRIME), money-market like fund for governmental entities, with assets exceeding $9.4 billion. The SBA also administers the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, a tax exempt state trust fund that operates as a state-administered insurer reimbursement program similar to reinsurance, with assets under management, including pre-event financing, exceeding $16.7 billion. Additionally, the SBA is responsible for investing the assets of more than 20 other state mandates, as directed by the Florida Legislature.
About Harvards Advanced Leadership Initiative
The Advanced Leadership Initiative was formed by Faculty from Harvards professional schools of Business, Education, Government, Law, Medicine and Public Health to build knowledge about societal challenges requiring interdisciplinary leadership skills and to capitalize on demographic changes that create opportunities to educate and deploy accomplished leaders in public service. For more information, visit www.advancedleadership.harvard.edu.
About Maine Public Employees Retirement System
Since 1942, the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS) has helped public employees prepare for retirement. The System also administers Disability Retirement, Group Life Insurance, and MaineSTART, a tax-deferred retirement savings program. Administration of these programs includes financial administration, investment administration, recordkeeping of members’ work and compensation data, and administration of retirement-related services provided to members, employers and retirees.
About Maryland State Retirement and Pension System
The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is charged with the fiduciary responsibility for properly administering the retirement and pension allowances of more than 160,000 retirees and beneficiaries as well as the future benefits for more than 245,000 active and former members. These groups include state government employees, teachers, law enforcement personnel, legislators, judges and local government employees and fire fighters whose employers have elected to participate in the system.
Nuveen, the investment manager of TIAA, offers a comprehensive range of outcome-focused investment solutions designed to secure the long-term financial goals of institutional and individual investors. Nuveen has $988 billion in assets under management as of 9/30/18 and operations in 16 countries. Its affiliates offer deep expertise across a comprehensive range of traditional and alternative investments through a wide array of vehicles and customized strategies.
About OIP Investment Trust
The OIP Investment Trust, established by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, manages the long term financial assets of the Oblate Congregation including its constituent provinces and delegations, as well as Roman Catholic related organizations, ministries, religious orders and dioceses. The OIP Investment Trust is a recognized nonprofit tax-exempt trust domiciled in the United States. It currently serves over 200 Roman Catholic related entities.
About Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund
The Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF) is managed by the Oregon State Treasury, under the direction of the Oregon Investment Council. The Council’s statutory mandate is to achieve the highest return possible on its investments.
About Rockefeller Asset Management
Rockefeller Asset Management, a division of Rockefeller Capital Management, serves institutional asset owners and individual investors whose focus on alpha generation requires an experienced partner with a demonstrable investment history. With more than 30 years of experience in global investing, we pair our distinctive worldview and long-term horizon with fundamental research that integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analysis. We offer strategies that seek to outperform over multiple market cycles, driven by a disciplined investment process in a highly collaborative team culture.
About San Francisco Employees Retirement System
The San Francisco Employees Retirement System (SFERS) Retirement Board oversees a $25.3 billion investment fund and administers a defined benefit retirement plan for over 70,000 active and retired employees of the City and County of San Francisco. The Retirement Board and SFERS Staff are dedicated to securing, protecting and prudently investing the pension fund trust assets, and providing promised benefits to its members.
About State Street Global Advisors
For four decades, State Street Global Advisors has served the worlds governments, institutions and financial advisors. With a rigorous, risk-aware approach built on research, analysis and market-tested experience, we build from a breadth of active and index strategies to create cost-effective solutions. As stewards, we help portfolio companies see that what is fair for people and sustainable for the planet can deliver long-term performance. And, as pioneers in index, ETF, and ESG investing, we are always inventing new ways to invest. As a result, we have become the worlds third largest asset manager with nearly US $2.81 trillion* under our care.
* This figure is presented as of September 30, 2018 and includes approximately $28 billion of assets with respect to SPDR products for which State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (SSGA FD) acts solely as the marketing agent. SSGA FD and State Street Global Advisors are affiliated.
About Wespath Investment Management
Wespath Benefits and Investments is a not-for-profit agency that has been serving The United Methodist Church for over a century. In accordance with its fiduciary duties, Wespath administers benefit plans and invests over $23 billion in assets for over 100,000 participants and over 100 United Methodist-affiliated institutions (as of June 30, 2018). Wespath maintains the largest reporting faith-based pension fund in the world, which is among the top 100 pension funds in the United States.
Krista Noonan/Michael Sicilia