The formulas, tricks and trade secrets of Private Equity

Should We Treat Firms That Signup to the Unpri As Suspicious

Sample Chapter

What would your first thought be if I told you I signed up to Alcoholics Anonymous? You would probably think, “Wow, I didn’t know you had a drinking problem.” Now, what if I told you I signed up to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)? That’s right, you’d think I have a problem with being a responsible investor.

Of course I support good people doing good things, but I just can’t compute the UNPRI. There are no concrete rules, there’s no stewardship, there’s no recourse, nothing. If we boil it down, it’s a vague guide that suggests I shouldn’t use child labour, or slave labour, or ruin the environment, etc.

Here’s a thought, WHY DO I NEED SOMEONE TO TELL ME NOT TO USE SLAVES? Should I pinch myself; am I really in 2010? Do I need someone to tell me not to be a monster? Obviously the signatories think so.

I’m not questioning the efforts of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) team; I’ll assume they have good intentions. What is suspicious, are firms that need to tell the world they aren’t morally corrupt. (And you know what they say about people that harp on about their own integrity.) If you ask any one of them, they’ll say they’re supporting the cause and doing it for the children, but you and I both know they’re doing it to display a UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) logo on their website and, in the process, condemning others as irresponsible.

It’s truly disgusting in the context of these issues. If they really want to make a difference, they’ll donate a % of their carry to these causes (Ha, best joke of the year). My suggestion: do a little more due diligence on PE firms that are signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

This won’t be a popular view, but it’s my view. And it goes for similar treaties or protocols; stop signing pieces of paper and start acting responsibly on a global scale.

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