Epworth Investment Management first fund manager to secure Fair Tax Mark

Epworth Investment Management, which has in excess of £1.2bn of assets under management, has today (Monday, 21stSeptember) secured its first Fair Tax Mark certification, and joins the growing movement of responsible businesses who ‘say what they pay with pride’.

Epworth Investment Management is an investment manager dedicated to serving the needs of Churches and Charities. They are stewards of their investors’ money and carefully select investments using Christian ethical criteria. Epworth is wholly owned by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, which was founded in 1960.

The Fair Tax Mark an independent certification, which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time. More than 50 businesses have now been certified. These include national brands such as Timpson, Lush, and Richer Sounds, FTSE listed companies including SSE and Marshalls Plc., as well as co-operatives, family businesses and social enterprises.

Epworth Investment Management has developed a clear responsible tax policy and is committed to transparency. This includes being open regarding its lobbying on taxation matters and foregoing influencing governmental tax legislation in any way that is detrimental to its stakeholders’ best interests. They are also at the leading edge, globally, of engagement with investees on responsible tax conduct.

David Palmer, Chief Executive, commented: “Responsible investing is at the heart of what we do, and I am pleased to say that Epworth Investment Management has taken all of the necessary steps to ensure it is responsible and transparent on tax. We will not stop there however.  We are committed to the Fair Tax Mark, and shall encourage our investee companies to secure this certification as well”.

Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive, Fair Tax Mark, said: “We are delighted to announce that Epworth Investment Management is the first fund manager in the UK to achieve the Fair Tax Mark. They are walking the talk and have thrown the gauntlet down to other asset managers, in terms of both operational conduct and securing change among investees.”

“Institutional investors and asset managers have, to date, been somewhat cautious on the issue of tax justice, in comparison with their vigorous work in the areas of climate change and human rights. So it’s great to see Epworth Investment Management setting a benchmark for what meaningful action can look like.”

Justin Thacker, Director, Church Action for Tax Justice, said: “John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, famously encouraged us to gain all we can – but then added ‘without hurting our neighbour’, without ‘ruining his trade’. In making the decision to comply with the requirements of the Fair Tax Mark, Epworth Investment Management are truly honouring their Methodist foundations. They are demonstrating that it is not just possible, but also valuable, to combine effective investment practices with a Christian ethical base, and have forged a path for other Christian investment institutions to follow.”

Polling* commissioned by the Fair Tax Mark from ICM has recently found record levels of post-covid concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK. Over three-quarters of people responded said that they would rather shop with (79%) or work for (82%) a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax. Eight in ten people (82%) believe businesses benefiting from Government bailouts should be forced to agree terms that prohibit tax avoidance and enforce responsible tax conduct.

* 2020 ICM Omnibus: a nationally representative omnibus survey of c.2,000 adults across GB between 15th and 17th May 2020.