By The Nation
The Government Pension Fund (GPF) and 32 other investment institutions have vowed to halt their investments in companies that violate the Securities and Exchange Act as part of an initiative to raise Thailand’s investment standards to international levels.
Prasong Poontaneat, permanent secretary of finance and the chairman of GPF board, said on Thursday that the GPF and the participating intuitions, such as the Social Security Office, asset management companies and life insurance companies, have signed the so-called negative list guidelines. The guidelines were drafted to encourage institutions to refrain from investing in companies that have legal issues under the Securities and Exchange Act for three months.
“The GPF and the signing partners have accumulated assets under management of Bt10.8 trillion,” he said. “We signed the guidelines to improve the country’s investment quality according to the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) standards.”
GPF secretary Withai Ratanakorn said that according to the guidelines, when an investment partner violates the Securities and Exchange Act in a serious way, or operates their business against the ESG principles in ways that cause significant negative impacts, the GPF will work with the partner to find a way to solve the issue using positive engagement practices.
“If the partner is still unable to solve the issue despite said effort, the GPF will stop any further investment with the partner for three months, or until the issue is solved,” he said. “This is to prevent negative impacts from escalating and affecting the shareholders and the image of the organisation.”
The secretary also added that this is the first time in Thailand that negative list guidelines were signed by investment institutions to promote the ESG standards. “We hope that the signing will be make companies in Thailand realise the importance of good governance, as well as promote a positive image of Thailand’s investment sector in the global perspective,” he said.