The council is to send a message of support to stock market investor Black Rock for its decision to distance itself from firearms manufacturers in light of recent mass-shootings in America.
South Mainland councillor George Smith gained unanimous support at today’s policy and resources meeting when he called on the council to write to investors to offer encouragement over the ethical decision.
It came after Black Rock, the world’s biggest owner of global equities, told clients it was exploring ways to switch them into investment funds that screen out firearms manufacturers and retailers.
Black Rock’s decision followed an attack in Florida, during which a gunman killed 17 people – and sparked renewed debate over gun control legislation in the States.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Smith told fellow members he was glad to see the investor take a firm stand over the issue.
“In the last council we were regularly implored to look at ethical funding.
“I’m pleased to see Black Rock taking a position following the last high school shooting in America.
“I wonder if we can perhaps add our voice to give encouragement to Black Rock to continue to pursue that line of investment, because clearly guns are a dangerous thing.
“If we can do anything in our own small way to reduce the availability of guns – particularly in the United States – that would be a good thing.
“Could we write to Black Rock and give our support and encouragement?”
His comments came after the SIC’s head of finance presented a review of the council’s external investments over the last quarter.
Jonathan Belford said the council’s investments had increased in value by £14 million during the three-month period, giving them an overall value of £358 million at the end of December.
The financial markets continued to rise during January, however. And Mr Belford said the most up to date council investment value stood at £365 million.
Three fund managers take care of the council’s invesments. Baillie Gifford and Insight were both ahead of their benchmarks, while Black Rock’s investment matched the target laid down for it.
North Mainland councillor Alastair Cooper agreed £358 million “seems a lot of money”. However, he urged a word of caution and told the meeting that a lot of the money was already allocated for specific purposes.
“So many folk are saying this council is awash with money. But a lot of that £358 million is ring-fenced.”