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Pensions Advisory Board rebuffs UN Rapporteur interference

The Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS) Advisory Board (LGPSAB) has rebuffed interference by UN Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk, characterising statements made in his letters to Chairs of LGPS Committees as “assertions and misrepresentations” requiring clarification and correction.

The Board has not held a further meeting with Mr Lynk as had been agreed, since he failed to provide information that he had undertaken to provide.

Mr Lynk’s letters had urged LGPS funds to divest from companies on a UNHRC database “if the company cannot give a clear assurance that it has removed itself entirely from the settlement economy”.

The LGPSAB stated on its website that its secretary and representatives of the Local Authorities Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) had met with Mr Lynk to discuss his letters, that the discussion was “productive”, that it was agreed to follow up with another call in a month or so, and that Mr Lynk would provide further information regarding the UNHRC database,

As previously reported, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) wrote to the LGPSAB, disputing claims made in Mr Lynk’s letters and pointing out that he had exceeded his mandate and breached the UNHRC’s code of conduct. UKLFI also wrote to Chairs of LGPS Committees and received a number of favourable replies.

The LGPSAB has now replied to UKLFI stating that “the purpose of the meeting with Michael Lynk in January was to clarify and correct some of the assertions and misrepresentations made in his letter to enable the Board, if it wishes, to make a considered and measured response.”

The LGPSAB’s letter goes on “to make it clear that the meeting with Michael Lynk is not to be taken as agreement by the Board with any of the claims or arguments he put forward in his letter” and to confirm that “Michael Lynk has not provided the further information he undertook to provide in January and that in consequence no follow up meeting has taken place”.

The LGPSAB’s letter also affirms that when an authority is considering divestment based on non-financial considerations, it should abide by the test recommended by the English Law Commission, namely that “they should be clear that the decision would not result in a significant detriment to their funding position and that it is reasonable to assume that such decisions would have the support of their scheme members”.

UKLFI has written back to the LGPSAB, requesting that the information published on its website be clarified and updated in the light of the explanation in its letter.

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