Transfield Lobbies Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) To Stem Divestments

AllanGrayAllan Gray is Transfield Services’ largest investor, with a stake close to $100 million, as reported three days ago. That figure wiil have diminished recently, with the decline in Transfield Services’ shareprice. Allan Gray is a global investment fund that originated in South Africa and is presently registered in Bermuda. It is also the second-largest shareholder of Fairfax Media. It is part of the Orbis Group.

With the recent divestments by the superannuation funds HESTA and NGS Super, Transfield Services has been under scrutiny from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).

There are also questions as to whether Transfield Services has fulfilled its governance requirements in accurately reporting matters that may impact its shareprice to current and potential investors so that they may make an informed decision.

Transfield’s Proposed Investor Tour of Manus & Nauru Detention

In an effort to stem further divestments, Transfield Services, there are reports in Allan Gray’s own media outlets of giving the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) a tour of the detention camps on Manus and Nauru.

In those reports, Transfield CEO Graeme Hunt claimed that “”Some of the people we have engaged with on this issue have told us they feel sorry for us because we are the meat in the sandwich.”

Graeme Hunt owns over 4 million shares in Transfield, and in addition was paid around $3,629,982 as at June 2015.

We are reminded of the infamous Red Cross tour of the concentration camp in Theresienstadt in 1943: “the International Red Cross has been severely criticized for giving the Nazis good reports after their inspections; they even praised the Nazis for their diligence in delivering the Red Cross packages”


ACSI states that its role is to provide “independent research and advice to assist its member superannuation funds to manage environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investment risk.”

ACSI represents a membership of 39 superannuation funds who collectively invest over $A350bn in retirement savings on behalf of over 8 million super fund members.

It is a signatory to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment.

The PRI is premised on an acknowledgement of what it terms  the “financial materiality of ESG issues.” That is, the PRI emphasises the financial impact of environmental, social and governance issues.

ESG protocols include a mechanism for screening against investments in an industry or sector whose activity is harmful, as with tobacco. Every credible report on Australia’s mandatory detention system–from the Human Rights Commission to those undertaken by doctors and psychiatrists–has concluded that detention damages people.

There are no excuses for continuing to invest in mandatory detention.

As we have pointed out for some time, the deleterious nature of the detention industry will be reflected in its shareprice. The question is not whether ACSI should advise its members to divest from Transfield, but why they have not done so sooner.

screenshot-markets ft com 2015-08-24 12-27-33

We call upon ACSI to act with due diligence, consider the facts, and not be swayed into managing the risks on behalf of a destructive industry.

Superannuation funds invested in Transfield Services have declined in value — this means that continuing investments are in fact based on ideological adherence to the racist policy of mandatory detention and not fiduciary duty or ESG principles.

ACSI’s Board members are:
Trish Donohue (CBUS)
Debbie Blakey (HESTA)David Elia (HOSTPLUS)
Bill Hartnet (Local Gov Super)
Antony Thow (LUCRF Super)
Gerard Noonan (Media Super)
Rosemary Vilgan (QSuper)
John Livanas (State Super)
Talieh Williams (UniSuper)

Transfield Lobbies Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) To Stem Divestments

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