Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pension Fund Investments

Edward Jones made this Freedom of Information request to Torfaen County Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Torfaen Council,

I would like to request the following information:

1) The full details of what the Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pension Fund currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class or investment being held.

2) The investments broken down into different categories/types of holding, including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments, Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

3) The industrial sector of each investment e.g. Aerospace & Defense, Oil & Gas Producers, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Media, Banks, Mining, Government, Automobiles, Financial Services, Housing and any other sectors that the Pension Fund holds investments in. Examples of Pension Funds which have previously included this data in their publicly released investments include Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. (i)

4) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently invests in (this should be covered in the above requests). This list should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each company.

5) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the Pension Fund holds in sterling.

6) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (ii), which allows a requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means, specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format in which it is embodied." (iii)

I would like to receive the information in electronic format. If one part of the request can be answered sooner than others, please send that information first followed by any subsequent data. If you need further clarification, please contact me by email.

Many public authorities release their contracts, minutes and other information of interactions with private vendors in line with the Freedom of Information Act. The exemption for commercial interest under the Act (section 43) is a qualified exemption, which means information can only be withheld if it is in the public's interest. The public have an interest in knowing what the Pension Fund is investing in, the terms of contracts and the minutes of meeting with public authorities, whether or not public money changes hands immediately.

If you are relying on section 41 (the exemption for legal breach of confidence) then I would like to know the following:

* When these confidentiality agreements were agreed
* All correspondence and email in which these confidentiality agreements were discussed
* The precise wording of the confidentiality agreements.

I ask these questions because guidance issued by both the Lord Chancellor (draft guidance on FOI implementation) and the Office of Government Commerce (Model terms and conditions for goods and services) specifically state that public authorities should not enter into these types of agreements; they go directly against the spirit of the laws of disclosure. I would also point to the Information Commissioner's guidance on accepting blanket commercial confidentiality agreements: 'Unless confidentiality clauses are necessary or reasonable, there is a real risk that, in the event of a complaint, the Commissioner would order disclosure in any case.' (iv)

Finally, within the law of confidence there is also a public interest test. Therefore, the information should be disclosed in full. If any parts are redacted they must be for information that can be proven to be a legal breach of confidence in court, and only then where secrecy can be shown to be in the public interest. These are difficult positions to argue when public money is at stake or where a public authority is offering a private company a monopoly to charge its stakeholders.

I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees, and understand that under the act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Jones

(i) Buckinghamshire https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2... Derbyshire https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/2...

(ii) Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/...

(iii) Section 11 FOIA and the Form of a Request https://panopticonblog.com/2014/08/01/se...

(iv) 'Freedom of Information Awareness Guidance 5: Commercial Interests' Office of the Information Commissioner, Page 10, https://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/pr...

Torfaen County Borough Council

Torfaen County Borough Council

[1]Your portal | [2]News | [3]About Us
Thank you for taking the time to email us. The officer has referred
your email to the department responsible and they will reply
directly.

 

Standard response time is 10 working days.

 

Kind regards

 

Torfaen Customer Services Team

Due to the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), we have
made some changes to our privacy policy. You can view the details
here:  [4]Torfaen Council Privacy Notice

References

Visible links
1. https://www.torfaen.mycouncilservices.com/
2. http://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/News/News-A...
3. http://www.torfaen.gov.uk/
4. https://www.torfaen.gov.uk/en/AboutTheCo...

TCBC - FOI, Torfaen County Borough Council

Dear Mr Jones,

 

20/151: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Thank you for your email dated 26/06/2020 requesting information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.  I have logged your email and will deal
with your request in order that we can respond to you within the statutory
deadline of 20 working days.

 

I will contact you further as soon as the relevant information is
available.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Chris Corten

ASSISTANT COMPLAINTS/FOI MANAGER / RHEOLWR CYNORTHWYOL CWYNION/RHYDDID
GWYBODAETH

Chief Executive’s Service / Gwasanaeth Y Prif Weithredwr

Torfaen County Borough Council / Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen

Phone/Ffôn: 01495 742170

Email/Ebost: [1][email address]

This email is available in large print, Braille or Welsh upon request

 

show quoted sections

TCBC - FOI, Torfaen County Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Jones,

 

20/151: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Thank you for your email dated 26/06/2020 requesting information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000.  I am now in a position to respond to
your questions as follows:

 

I would like to request the following information:

 

1) The full details of what the Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class
or investment being held.

 

2) The investments broken down into different categories/types of holding,
including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments,
Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities
Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign
as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

 

3) The industrial sector of each investment e.g. Aerospace & Defense, Oil
& Gas Producers, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Media, Banks, Mining,
Government, Automobiles, Financial Services, Housing and any other sectors
that the Pension Fund holds investments in. Examples of Pension Funds
which have previously included this data in their publicly released
investments include Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. (i)

 

4) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently
invests in (this should be covered in the above requests). This list
should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each
company.

 

5) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the
Pension Fund holds in sterling.

 

6) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet
without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel
sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When
considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to
Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (ii), which allows a
requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means,
specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided
to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format
in which it is embodied." (iii)

 

The Fund does not hold any directly owned segregated shares and we invest
solely via the ownership of units within pooled investment funds. The
attached spreadsheet provides a breakdown of the holdings of the Fund as
at 31 May 2020, split by asset class, with a total valuation of £3.016bn.

 

We invest with external managers via pooled funds along with other
investors and so the Fund does not therefore track on a day-to-day basis
the underlying holdings and does not directly invest in these companies.
The Fund does however receive regular reports from the external managers
and engages with them on what stocks are held and the justification for
doing so. The Fund does not hold information on the industrial sectors of
the underlying holdings in each pooled fund.

 

Information supplied in response to any Freedom of Information Act request
may be subject to copyright. A single copy of information supplied under
the Freedom of Information Act may only be used for personal,
non-commercial research or study, unless stated otherwise. It must not be
passed to others, copied or re-published in whole or in part without
permission from the copyright holder. Any copyright statement that forms
part of or in any way refers to the information provided must not be
altered or removed.  

 

If you have any queries about this letter or are unhappy about the service
you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint
or request a review, please do not hesitate to contact me in writing. A
request for an internal review should be made within 40 working days of
the date of the response.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
Information Commissioner’s Office (Wales) cannot make a decision unless
you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by this Council. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office (Wales), 2^nd Floor, Churchill House, Churchill Way,
Cardiff, CF10 2HH. Telephone 0330 414 6421 or e-mail [1][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Chris Corten

ASSISTANT COMPLAINTS/FOI MANAGER / RHEOLWR CYNORTHWYOL CWYNION/RHYDDID
GWYBODAETH

Chief Executive’s Service / Gwasanaeth Y Prif Weithredwr

Torfaen County Borough Council / Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen

Phone/Ffôn: 01495 742170

Email/Ebost: [2][email address]

This email is available in large print, Braille or Welsh upon request

 

show quoted sections

Dear Torfaen Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Torfaen Council's handling of my FOI request 'Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pension Fund Investments'.

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Merton Borough Council's handling of my FOI request June 24 2020: 'Merton Pension Fund Investments'.

Please can you furnish me with a full breakdown of the assets invested in by the fund managers.
So what I require is a list of all the companies invested in and the discrete investment figures for each company.

This is in response to your data sent on July 7 2020.

We have such a breakdown from the 101 LGPS in the UK previously.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

TCBC - FOI, Torfaen County Borough Council

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

I note within the body of your email that whilst you ask for Torfaen
County Borough Council to undertake a review, you then go on to refer to
Merton Borough Council.

 

Please would you confirm that you wish to request an internal review for
the response issued to you by Torfaen County Borough Council. I will await
your confirmation before proceeding,

 

Regards,

 

Chris Corten

ASSISTANT COMPLAINTS/FOI MANAGER / RHEOLWR CYNORTHWYOL CWYNION/RHYDDID
GWYBODAETH

Chief Executive’s Service / Gwasanaeth Y Prif Weithredwr

Torfaen County Borough Council / Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen

Phone/Ffôn: 01495 742170

Email/Ebost: [1][email address]

This email is available in large print, Braille or Welsh upon request

 

 

show quoted sections

Dear TCBC - FOI,

Dear Torfaen Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Torfaen Council's handling of my FOI request 'Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pension Fund Investments'.

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Torfaen Council's handling of my FOI request. (Apologies not Merton as stated in the prevous email.)

Please can you furnish me with a full breakdown of the assets invested in by the fund managers.
So what I require is a list of all the companies invested in and the discrete investment figures for each company.

This is in response to your data sent on July 7 2020.

We have such a breakdown from the 101 LGPS in the UK previously and their is precedents of this lodged with the ICO's office.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Jones

TCBC - FOI, Torfaen County Borough Council

Dear Mr Jones,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 1^st August 2020. I have asked the Legal
Department to undertake an internal review. Your request is being dealt
with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be
answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Chris Corten

ASSISTANT COMPLAINTS/FOI MANAGER / RHEOLWR CYNORTHWYOL CWYNION/RHYDDID
GWYBODAETH

Resources Directorate/Cyfarwyddiaeth Adnoddau

Torfaen County Borough Council / Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen

Phone/Ffôn: 01495 742170

Email/Ebost: [1][email address]

This email is available in large print, Braille or Welsh upon request

show quoted sections

Harries, Delyth, Torfaen County Borough Council

Dear Mr Jones

 

I have been asked to carry out an internal review in relation to the
Council’s response to your request for information made on 26^th June 
2020 under the Freedom of Information Act .

 

The Council responded on 7^th July 2020 stating:

 

“Thank you for your email dated 26/06/2020 requesting information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am now in a position to respond to
your questions as follows:

 

I would like to request the following information:

 

1) The full details of what the Greater Gwent (Torfaen) Pension Fund
currently invests in, including the name and amounts of each asset class
or investment being held.

 

2) The investments broken down into different categories/types of holding,
including: Index Linked Securities, Unit trust Property, Cash Instruments,
Unit Trust Equities, Infrastructure, Fixed Interest Securities, Equities
Segregated Unlisted, Equities Segregated UK, Equities Segregated Foreign
as well as any other investments that the Pension Fund holds.

 

3) The industrial sector of each investment e.g. Aerospace & Defense, Oil
& Gas Producers, Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, Media, Banks, Mining,
Government, Automobiles, Financial Services, Housing and any other sectors
that the Pension Fund holds investments in. Examples of Pension Funds
which have previously included this data in their publicly released
investments include Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. (i)

 

4) A full list of all the companies which the Pension Fund currently
invests in (this should be covered in the above requests). This list
should include the names of each company and the amount invested in each
company.

 

5) Can you clearly specify the total value of all investments that the
Pension Fund holds in sterling.

 

6) I would like to receive this information in an unlocked excel sheet
without protected cells (.xls). If you have to password protect the excel
sheet, can you also provide the password to the excel sheet. When
considering the request for this data in excel format, please refer to
Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (ii), which allows a
requestor to express a preference for communication by a particular means,
specifically: "an applicant's right to choose to have information provided
to him in electronic form extends to a right to choose the software format
in which it is embodied." (iii)

 

The Fund does not hold any directly owned segregated shares and we invest
solely via the ownership of units within pooled investment funds. The
attached spreadsheet provides a breakdown of the holdings of the Fund as
at 31 May 2020, split by asset class, with a total valuation of £3.016bn.

 

We invest with external managers via pooled funds along with other
investors and so the Fund does not therefore track on a day-to-day basis
the underlying holdings and does not directly invest in these companies.
The Fund does however receive regular reports from the external managers
and engages with them on what stocks are held and the justification for
doing so. The Fund does not hold information on the industrial sectors of
the underlying holdings in each pooled fund. “

 

You replied on  1 August  2020 as follows:

 

“I am writing to request an internal review of Torfaen Council's handling
of my FOI request. (Apologies not Merton as stated in the prevous email.)

 

Please can you furnish me with a full breakdown of the assets invested in
by the fund managers.

So what I require is a list of all the companies invested in and the
discrete investment figures for each company.

 

This is in response to your data sent on July 7 2020.

 

We have such a breakdown from the 101 LGPS in the UK previously and their
is precedents of this lodged with the ICO's office.”

 

I have now considered the matter and I am satisfied that the council has
properly responded to your request. The fund is externally managed and the
Council does not hold all the information you have requested. The
information it holds has already been provided to you.

 

That concludes my review.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of this review you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office
(Wales), 2^nd Floor, Churchill House, Churchill Way, Cardiff, CF10 2HH.
Telephone 01625 545297 or e-mail [1][email address]

 

Delyth Harries

Monitoring Officer and Assistant Chief Legal Officer

Swyddog Monitro a Prif Swyddog Cynorthwyol Cyfreithol

Legal Services/Gwasanaethau Gyfreithiol

Torfaen County Borough Council/Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen

Tel No/ Ffon: 01495 742652

E mail/E bost: [2][email address]

 

 

 

'

show quoted sections

YMWADIAD: Mae'r wybodaeth sy'n gynwysedig yn yr e-bost yma a) yn eiddo i
Gyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen; a b) yn gyfrinachol. Fe'i bwriedir ar
gyfer y derbynnydd yn unig. Os nad chi yw’r sawl y cyfeiriwyd hi ato, ni
ddylech ddadlennu, copïo na dosbarthu'r wybodaeth neu ei defnyddio i
weithredu. Os derbyniwch yr e-bost yma fel camgymeriad, gadewch i ni wybod
ar unwaith drwy ffonio ++44 (0) 1495 766366, a danfonwch yr e-bost yn ol
gydag unrhyw atodiadau. RHYBUDD: Gwnewch yn siwr bod gennych ddiogelwch
feirws digonol cyn agor neu ddatgysylltu unrhyw ddogfen sydd yn atodiad
i'r e-bost hwn. Mae’r Cyngor yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg a Saesneg.
Cewch ateb Cymraeg i bob gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd yn arwain i
unrhyw oedi. Mae data personol sy'n cael ei brosesu gan y cyngor yn cael
ei wneud yn unol â'r gofynion sydd arnom ni o dan y Rheoliad Diogelu Data
Cyffredinol (RhDDC) (UE) 2016/679. Am fwy o wybodaeth ar sut yr ydym yn
gwneud hyn gwelwch ein Hysbysiad Preifatrwydd

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[email address]