3.11 Shetland Islands

Members of Shetland Islands Council Pension Fund include employees of Shetland Islands Council, Orkney and Shetland Valuation Joint Board, Lerwick Port Authority, Shetland Islands Tourism and several other public and charitable bodies in the Shetland Islands. The fund is worth over £450 million.

Shetland Islands Council Pension Fund’s statement of investment principles says that fund managers are expected to take into account environmental, social and governance factors “to the extent that these may materially affect the long-term prospects of such companies” and to engage with companies “in relation to the pursuance of socially responsible business practices”.

We asked Shetland Islands Council for a list of the pension fund’s investments but the response stated that the fund “does not hold any shares in individual companies”.

The fund’s annual report shows that it is managed by five external investment fund managers: Blackrock  ̶  Passive UK Global Equities; KBI Global Investors  ̶  Active Global Equities; M&G  ̶  Alternative Bonds; Newton  ̶  Diversified Growth Fund; and Schroders – Active Property. Each of these fund managers has a separate mandate that covers, amongst other things, “investment objectives and restrictions”.

We asked for a copy of the mandates to see whether they contain any restrictions regarding nuclear weapons but this request was rejected on the grounds that disclosure would “prejudice substantially the commercial interests of fund managers”. Shetland Islands Council did send us the names of the funds that it uses but we have been able to obtain a complete list of holdings for each of them.

We have therefore been unable to establish whether Shetland Islands Pension Fund holds investments in nuclear weapons producers.

If you live in the Shetland Islands and you’re concerned about the fund’s investments, please contact your local councillors: see section 3A.4 for tips and click here for our template letter.