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Jul 07, 2014

Global investor group launches with ex-Fidelity CIO

Fidelity’s Simon Fraser and Corsair Capital director Andy Griffiths join the Investor Forum

The Investor Forum, a group formed with the aim of boosting engagement between long-term investors and corporates in the UK, has officially launched this week with the appointment of a chairman and executive director.

Simon Fraser, Fidelity World Investment’s former CIO and currently the chairman of Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust, is to serve as chairman of the group, which has also appointed Andy Griffiths, a senior adviser to Corsair Capital, as its executive director.

Griffiths previously worked at Capital Group for more than 20 years as a research analyst and investment professional, with a focus on European banks and international equities.

The Investor Forum is an investor-led organization largely composed of asset managers and owners – including pension funds, life assurers and sovereign wealth funds – with interests in UK companies, with the aim of promoting their long-term health and profitability.

As explained when the group was established in December 2013, it is hoped companies will invite long-term institutional investors in for a discussion about strategy, with a particular focus on what a firm believes are its underlying strategic advantages. The group’s aims are closely supported by the British government; Vince Cable, the UK’s business secretary, says its implementation is a ‘welcome step’ toward stabilizing the UK economy.

Fraser, expanding on the role the Investor Forum hopes to play in the future, says working with this in mind is key to the group’s success.

‘In order to restore trust in the value of markets and their role in the economy, it is imperative that all investors take a long-term interest in the strategic direction of the companies they invest in,’ he explains. ‘The Investor Forum will help facilitate better engagement between UK public companies and their shareholders to support long-term value creation opportunities.’

Part of this, the group’s website suggests, can be achieved by ‘promoting cultural change throughout the investment chain’ – from asset owners and advisers through to fund managers. It also sets out plans to form ‘engagement groups’ for when a number of investors are concerned a company is failing in a way that could compromise long-term returns.

‘Our guiding principles will be rooted in value creation for investors and the pursuit of solutions that ensure the UK is a welcome home for many of the world’s most dynamic enterprises,’ Griffiths says. The new executive director adds that he is ‘delighted’ to have the opportunity to work with the Investor Forum.