Institutional Investors - Ethical Criteria and Enforcement Practices

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Purpose: The study aims to answer the following questions: Which are the ethical investment criteria of institutional investors and by what means do Institutional Investors enforce their ethical investment criteria? In order to answer the purpose the thesis aims to: To construct a theoretical framework which serves as a basis to identify and describes the ethical criteria and enforcement means of Institutional Investors. Empiric data will then be used to develop and refine the theoretical framework and to create an understanding of the ethical conduct of the Institutional Investors. Method: A hypothetic-deductive approach was chosen to fulfil the purpose at hand. First existing theories were utilized to construct a preliminary theoretical framework. An explorative empirical study based on qualitative data (interviews with four institutions as well as secondary data gathering on 4 more) was then carried out to create an understanding of the different practices within the institutional investors and in order to refine the applicability of the theoretical frame of reference. Conclusions: The institutions analysed can be categorized within two distinctive ‘ethical’ groups: the H/H (high level of ethical criteria as well as high level of enforcement) and the L/L (low level of ethical criteria and low level of enforcement) group. Within the H/H institutions have clear and well-defined criteria, often based on international guidelines and which are implemented through structured processes that ensure adequate acquisition and handling of intelligence. Within the L/L group institutions often have vague criteria which are implemented through simple and incomplete ethical governance structures.

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