Epworth Investment Management First Fund Manager to Secure ‘Fair Tax Mark’

Fair Tax Mark

Epworth Investment Management, which has in excess of £1.2bn of assets under management, has today (21st September) secured its first Fair Tax Mark certification, and joins the growing movement of responsible businesses who ‘say what they pay with pride’.

Epworth Investment Management is an investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of Churches and Charities. They are stewards of their investors’ money and carefully select investments using Christian ethical criteria. Epworth is wholly owned by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, which was founded in 1960.

The Fair Tax Mark is an independent certification, which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time. More than 50 businesses have now been certified. These include national brands such as Timpson, Lush, and Richer Sounds, FTSE listed companies including SSE and Marshalls Plc., as well as co-operatives, family businesses and social enterprises.

Epworth Investment Management has developed a clear responsible tax policy and is committed to transparency. This includes being open regarding its lobbying on taxation matters and foregoing influencing governmental tax legislation in any way that is detrimental to its stakeholders’ best interests. They are also at the leading edge, globally, of engagement with investees on responsible tax conduct.

David Palmer, Chief Executive, commented:

“Responsible investing is at the heart of what we do, and I am pleased to say that Epworth Investment Management has taken all of the necessary steps to ensure it is responsible and transparent on tax. We will not stop there however. We are committed to the Fair Tax Mark, and shall encourage our investee companies to secure this certification as well”.

Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark, said:

“We are delighted to announce that Epworth Investment Management is the first fund manager in the UK to achieve the Fair Tax Mark. They are walking the talk and have thrown the gauntlet down to other asset managers, in terms of both operational conduct and securing change among investees.”

“Institutional investors and asset managers have, to date, been somewhat cautious on the issue of tax justice, in comparison with their vigorous work in the areas of climate change and human rights. So it’s great to see Epworth Investment Management setting a benchmark for what meaningful action can look like.”

Justin Thacker, Director, Church Action for Tax Justice, said:

“John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, famously encouraged us to gain all we can – but then added ‘without hurting our neighbour’, without ‘ruining his trade’. In making the decision to comply with the requirements of the Fair Tax Mark, Epworth Investment Management are truly honouring their Methodist foundations. They are demonstrating that it is not just possible, but also valuable, to combine effective investment practices with a Christian ethical base, and have forged a path for other Christian investment institutions to follow.”

Polling* commissioned by the Fair Tax Mark from ICM has recently found record levels of post-covid concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK. Over three-quarters of people responded said that they would rather shop with (79%) or work for (82%) a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax. Eight in ten people (82%) believe businesses benefiting from Government bailouts should be forced to agree terms that prohibit tax avoidance and enforce responsible tax conduct.

* 2020 ICM Omnibus: a nationally representative omnibus survey of c.2,000 adults across GB between 15th and 17th May 2020.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact: 07741 988492 / press@fairtaxmark. Images available

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The Fair Tax Mark certification scheme was launched in February 2014 and seeks to encourage and recognise organisations that pay the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place. Tax contributions are a key part of the wider social and economic contribution made by business, helping the communities in which they operate to deliver valuable public services and build the infrastructure that paves the way for growth. More than fifty businesses have now been certified, including FTSE-listed PLCs, co-operatives, social enterprises and large private business – which between them have over 7,000 offices and outlets. A suite of global accreditation standards will be rolled out in 2021. We operate as a not-for-profit social enterprise and believe that companies paying tax responsibly should be celebrated, and any race to the bottom resisted. Other initiatives include Fair Tax Week and the Councils for Fair Tax Declaration. https://fairtaxmark.net

The Climate Emergency – How Can Charities use their Investments to Respond to the Challenge?

Epworth Investment Management present the online seminar “The Climate Emergency – How Can Charities use their Investments to Respond to the Challenge?” at Civil Society Faith Week, Wednesday 9 September 2020.

Speakers:

Revd Canon Jennifer Smith
Superindendent Minister Wesley’s Chapel
“The Climate Emergency – a faith perspective”

David Palmer
Chief Executive Officer, Epworth Investment Management
“Are all faith groups on the same page when it comes to the climate emergency?”

Christophe Borysiewicz
Head of Investment Management, Epworth Investment Management
“Risk, income and other investment challenges in tackling the climate emergency”

Mark O’Connor
Head of Business Development, Epworth Investment Management
“The Epworth Climate Stewardship Fund for Charities – a possible solution”

Fossil Fuel Divestment – Epworth talk to the United Reformed Church Southern Synod Trust

Epworth Investment Management’s Christophe Borysiewicz talks to Catherine Kingdom of the United Reformed Church Southern Synod Trust about the Church’s decision to divest from fossil fuels.

Epworth Launches Climate Stewardship Fund to Help Save the Planet

David Palmer

“The Epworth Climate Stewardship Fund tackles the climate emergency head-on, letting UK charity trustees invest in a way that will help save the planet while targeting good long term investment returns.” David Palmer, Chief Executive Officer

Epworth Investment Management Limited (Epworth), the UK investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of charities, today announces the launch of the Epworth Climate Stewardship Fund (‘the Fund’). It invests in a way that will help UK charities both save the planet and target above market returns over the long term.

Created in response to the climate emergency, the Fund has been developed in partnership with UK charities.

Climate change has been at the core of Epworth’s investment approach for over 10 years. We engage with companies in all sectors to push for better action on reducing carbon emissions and we avoid investment in the worst offenders. This Fund is the evolution of this process, accepting that we are now in a climate emergency and that charities want to take greater steps to ensure they are investing in a way that will benefit the planet.

The Fund aims to have a carbon footprint substantially below that of the FTSE All Share Index. It will invest with Christian ethics, seeking out companies that contribute to the transition to a lower carbon economy and engaging with portfolio companies to encourage action that reduces the risk of climate change. It will exclude companies that extract or refine fossil fuels, those companies that have material involvement in supplying them with goods or services as well as those that do not meet our bespoke Christian ethical screening process.

The Fund will seek income and capital growth over a minimum 5 year period through investing mainly in UK companies.

David Palmer, Chief Executive, commented:

“Covid 19 has shown everyone just how quickly the world can change – and the sudden damage and disruption that can be caused to day-to-day life. It is rightly everyone’s immediate concern – but climate change remains the biggest long-term threat to our planet. The pandemic response also shows that rapid radical action in response to an existential threat is possible. That gives us hope for action on climate change.

The Epworth Climate Stewardship Fund tackles the climate emergency head-on, letting UK charity trustees invest in a way that will help save the planet while targeting good long term investment returns.”

For all press queries related to Epworth please contact:

Andy Donald or Jason Ochere
epworth-maitland@maitland.co.uk
Tel: 020 7379 5151

Epworth invites UK charities to join our conferences on “Investment and Ethics”

Epworth Investment Management Limited will be holding two conferences on “Investment and Ethics” in November 2019.

The conferences are aimed at all those that are in a financial role or a trustee of a UK charity. We will be looking at the investment outlook, exploring some of our work on ethics and investment and will also outline possible investment options.

Each conference starts with lunch at 12:30pm and finishes at 4:30pm.

London

  • Friday 8 November 2019
  • The Wesley Hotel, 81-103 Euston Street, London, NW1 2EZ

Birmingham

  • Thursday 21 November 2019
  • Carrs Lane Conference Centre, Birmingham, B4 7SX

Register to attend

To register for the conference please contact Ashma Ponniah ashma.ponniah@epworthinvestment.co.uk

Beyond Fossil Fuels Seminar

David Palmer

“We are looking to tackle an issue that is a major concern for charities” David Palmer, Chief Executive Officer

Epworth Investment Management Limited, the UK investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of churches and charities, today announces plans to hold a Beyond Fossil Fuels Seminar for charities in London on 19 September 2019. Its purpose is to consult about launching a new Epworth Fund that will meet the needs of those charities that no longer wish to invest in fossil fuels.

There has been a long running debate about whether it remains appropriate for charities to invest in fossil fuels. Epworth only invests in fossil fuel companies whose business models are compatible with the Paris Accord and we engage to drive positive change. We are aware that for some charities, this is not enough, and they wish to divest completely.

The Seminar will explore just what does divesting from fossil fuels mean? Is it simply about exiting oil majors? What about other carbon intensive industries? What does it mean for a charity’s investment portfolio, income and returns? What is the role of positive investing and which investments should replace those divested?

David Palmer, Chief Executive, commented:

“We are looking to tackle an issue that is a major concern for charities. As stewards of our investors’ money, it is important that we fully reflect their requirements. This Seminar will allow us to explore the issue in depth, before delivering a high quality fossil free investment solution that meets the needs of those UK charities who wish to divest.”

If you are a charity and are interested in attending the seminar, please email:
beyondfossilfuels@epworthinvestment.co.uk advising your role and charity number. Spaces will be limited and we will provide further information to all attendees ahead of the Seminar.

For all press queries related to Epworth please contact:

Andy Donald or Jason Ochere
epworth-maitland@maitland.co.uk
Tel: 44 (0) 207 379 5151

Epworth meets growing demand among charities for Christian investment

David Palmer

“Our mission is to support UK charities by offering them efficient investment options that meet their objectives” David Palmer, Chief Executive Officer

Epworth Investment Management Limited, the UK investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of churches and charities, today announces the launch of two new ethical investment funds. They are designed to meet the growing demand for Christian investment solutions, following unprecedented appetite from UK charities last year.

The Epworth Global Equity Fund for Charities and the Epworth Multi-Asset Fund for Charities, extend our long term investment options to five equity and bond funds, providing global coverage. All of these funds will be structured as Charity Authorised Investment Funds, the most modern solution available to UK charities. They are complemented by our cash deposit fund, which pays charities a competitive rate of interest, currently 0.7%, on their cash balances.

Epworth’s funds are available to all UK charities and are designed to ensure their long term investment objectives are met, in a way that is consistent with Christian values.

David Palmer, Chief Executive, commented:

“Our mission is to support UK charities by offering them efficient investment options that meet their objectives. The launch of these new funds demonstrates this continued commitment, through high quality investment funds that are rooted in a Christian approach.”

Mark O’Connor, Head of Business Development said:

“Our research has shown that along with good investment returns, ensuring that a charity’s values are reflected is among their most important criteria when looking to invest. Our robust approach, investing in sustainable companies through a Christian lens, means that with Epworth they can enjoy the best of both worlds.”

For all press queries related to Epworth please contact:

Andy Donald or Jason Ochere Epworth-maitland@maitland.co.uk Tel: 44 (0) 207 379 5151

About Epworth Investment Management

Founded in 1996, Epworth is an investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of Churches and Charities. We are stewards of our investors’ money and carefully select investments using Christian ethical criteria. Epworth manages assets of £1.2bn (31/12/2018) and is wholly owned by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church.

Introduction to Epworth

Epworth Announces Sponsorship of Children & Youth Award at the 2019 Charity Awards

Marina Phillips

Marina Phillips, Chief Financial Officer will present the award on behalf of Epworth

Epworth Investment Management Limited, the UK investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of Churches and Charities, is proud to sponsor the Children & Youth Award at the 20th Annual Charity Awards. This is the second year that Epworth is sponsoring the Children & Youth category.

This year’s Awards will be held on 5 June 2019 in the Pavilion at the Tower of London and will honour individuals and organisations across the charity space. The awards celebrate leadership, good governance, innovation and excellence.

Marina Phillips, Chief Financial Officer, commented: ‘We feel very privileged to sponsor the Children & Youth category again. Epworth has a longstanding commitment to children as part of our Christian ethical investment process, so it is a great fit for us.

Mark O’Connor, Head of Business Development, said: ‘Charities are under incredible pressure, yet they continue to deliver for those most in need. It is important to take time out to celebrate the wonderful work of those in the charity sector and we look forward to doing so again next June.

A good step along the way to a lower carbon world, but companies should go further

Stephen Beer, Chief Investment Officer of Epworth Investment Management Limited,
This announcement is a good step along the way to a lower carbon world. It is right that executive remuneration is linked to progress on reducing carbon emissions. Shell has set a standard here for other fossil fuel companies.

CFB and Epworth respond to Shell’s announcement on carbon targets

The Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church (CFB) and Epworth Investment Management Limited (Epworth) have welcomed the announcement by Royal Dutch Shell that it will set carbon footprint targets. We are looking for still more action from fossil fuel companies on climate change.

Shell will incorporate net carbon footprint targets in its remuneration policy. It has also announced it will review its membership of lobbying organisations to ensure they are consistent with its stated positions on climate change. These are significant steps and set an example for other oil and gas companies to follow.

Shell’s announcement came in a joint statement made with investment institutions which are part of the Climate Action 100+ coalition, of which the CFB and Epworth are part. Climate Action 100+ is a five year initiative led by investors to engage on climate change especially with “systemically important greenhouse gas emitters”. It consists of 310 investors with over US$32 trillion in assets under management. It is coordinated by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), of which the CFB is a founder member.

Shell has previously announced an “ambition” to reduce its Net Carbon Footprint “in step with society’s drive to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement”. It believes this translates to a reduction of its Net Carbon Footprint by approximately half by 2050 and around 20% by 2035. The Net Carbon Footprint includes not only direct carbon emissions from Shell, but emissions from the use of its products.

Shell has now announced that it intends to incorporate this ambition into its remuneration policies from 2020, as short term targets set each year for the following three or five years.

Stephen Beer, Chief Investment Officer of the CFB and Epworth said: “This announcement is a good step along the way to a lower carbon world. It is right that executive remuneration is linked to progress on reducing carbon emissions. Shell has set a standard here for other fossil fuel companies. We also welcome the news that Shell will review its membership of lobbying organisations. It doesn’t make sense for an oil and gas company to say one thing about climate change but support a lobbying organisation which is resisting measures to limit global warming.

However we believe Shell – and other fossil fuel companies – should go further. A key test is, what investment decisions taken by the company will now be different?

The CFB and Epworth apply three climate change policies to their investment process. They are currently undertaking a further review of fossil fuel companies. This review aims to understand the extent to which fossil fuel companies are aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to “well below 2°C”.

Stephen Beer added:

Shell states that its Net Carbon Footprint “ambition” is set by the progress society makes to meet the Paris Agreement goals. Yet companies are part of society; they are not merely passive. This is what corporate responsibility is about.

The Paris Agreement on climate change sets the target of limiting climate change to “well below 2 degrees”. It would be great to have fossil fuel companies publicly commit to ensuring their business models will be aligned with this goal no matter what. The urgency is clear, with consensus is moving to regard a limit to global warming of +1.5°C as the key measure.