Eurosif releases handbook on active share ownership in Europe – 2006

Eurosif has recently published a groundbreaking handbook entitled

"Active Share Ownership in Europe". The publication targets investors
who are seeking a means to better manage environmental, social and
governance (ESG) risks across their domestic and foreign investment
portfolios, especially with regards to their rights as shareholders.

Matt Christensen, Executive Director of Eurosif states, "The Active
Share Ownership Handbook ties in well with ongoing work by the
European Commission around corporate governance. Specifically, this
handbook compliments the EC’s recent proposal for a Directive to
facilitate the cross-border exercise of shareholders’ rights in listed
companies. "

Active share ownership in Europe is a relatively new phenomenon that
has been prompted by 3 main factors: the development of long-term
institutional investment, the internationalisation of equity
portfolios and a renewed look at fiduciary duty. The handbook reports
that pension funds and asset managers are increasingly using different
forms of activism as a part of their SRI strategy. Shareholders have a
variety of methods at their disposal, both public and private, to
exert influence. However, as institutional investment portfolios are
becoming more dispersed across European holdings, investors are aiming
to better manage their ESG risks at an international level.

Eurosif encourages interested shareholders to read the handbook in
order to find answers to their many questions surrounding active share
ownership in Europe. Questions that are addressed by the handbook
include: Why is shareholder activism increasingly relevant? How are
ESG issues valued by investors in different countries? Do investors
systematically hold the right to vote? What is the role and relative
importance of dialogue between investors, boards and management? What
does the future hold in this area?

The handbook has been positively received by policy makers as well as
investors. Dominique Be from the European Commission says, "We welcome
this important initiative, which comes at a critical time with regards
to changing regulations on share ownership in Europe. This handbook
helps investors see the importance of ESG criteria across European
borders." Erik Breen, from Robeco Asset Management adds, "Active share
ownership is one of the key current trends in the economic landscape
today and this handbook certainly helps investors to better understand
its dynamics."

Eurosif expects the handbook will help the investment community better
understand the European setting as well as learn how to become a
responsible investor. Eurosif will hold an event in Brussels in 2006
with leading investors and policy makers around ideas in the handbook
in order to continue to encourage investors to make use of their
shareholder rights.

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