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Investment Amazon queried on ethics by fund manager
[February 02, 2014]

Investment Amazon queried on ethics by fund manager

(Guardian (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A leading City fund manager considered pulling an investment in Amazon from its ethical funds because of the online seller's tax avoidance measures and its employment conditions for its staff around the world.

Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), which bought Co-operative Asset Management last year, revealed it had written to the online retailer demanding clarity on its tax levels and where its tax was paid around the world.

The fund manager also warned Amazon that its refusal to allow collective bargaining for its staff could hinder its ability to recruit. RLAM said it was disquieting that collective bargaining, through union membership for example, was not encouraged.

After a meeting with Amazon in the autumn, RLAM detected some signs of progress and decided to keep holding the investment in its sustainable fund where it is categorised as a bookseller.

Amazon was not immediately available for comment.

The asset management company has separately highlighted the issues raised by the EU bonus cap, which restricts top bankers' bonuses to 100% of salary, or 200% if shareholders give approval; it is sympathetic to the cap because of bonus schemes that have "incentivised risky behaviour without due consideration of potential downside losses or robust clawback provisions in place".

But RLAM has also conceded that it is not against performance-related pay. Jill Treanor (c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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