Socially responsible investments

In addition to well-established working principles based on conservative and capital preservation oriented investments that ensure it a sustainable future, the CERN Pension Fund recently introduced a new criterion for selecting the numerous opportunities that the market offers: philanthropy. Its first initiative, which also involves the Staff Association’s Long-Term Collection, will help support two orphanages in China.


The two charities are located near Beijing. Beijing’s “China Children Charity and Foundation” is an orphanage that cares for up to 80 babies who need surgery to correct birth defects. The other, “Hope Healing Home”, is an organization that deals with 300 babies and cares for sick and physically disabled babies who have been abandoned. All these babies are awaiting treatment and a medical solution.

The CERN Pension Fund has over 6700 members. To ensure the greatest efficiency and profitability, the Fund’s portfolio is diversified and constantly monitored for performance. “We entrust our funds to managers selected according to very strict rules,” explains Théodore Economou, Pension Fund Chief Executive Officer.

“In addition to efficient capital preservation skills, we impose some ethical criteria – such as no involvement in weapons, alcohol, tobacco and gaming. More recently, we were also able to negotiate a contribution from the managers’ pocket to CERN philanthropic initiatives,” says Greg Haenni, Chief Investment Officer.

In practical terms, the CERN Pension Fund, as standard practice, negotiates to never pay more than the lowest fee offered to any other similar investor.  The Fund then also asks managers to pledge to financially support philanthropic programmes. “In CERN’s case, this project was discussed with Marcel Aymon, as well as Claude Dehavay. Contributions will go directly to the long-term collections of the Staff Association,” says Greg Haenni.

In the well-established spirit of monitoring the Fund’s activities, Greg Haenni went to China last year and visited the “Hope Healing Home” orphanage: “I was absolutely amazed by the amount of care people working in the orphanage were offering to sick and abandoned children. I am very happy that Dorothée Duret, former vice-president of the Governing Board of the CERN Pension Fund welcomed the proposal to have socially responsible investments. The members of the Investment Committee really appreciated the idea and now the whole thing is taking off!”

The two charities are in the process of being added to the list of projects supported by the long-term collections of the Staff Association.
You are welcome to contribute directly with donations. The CERN Pension Fund suppliers are doing so already.

Please read also the spring report of the Pension Fund.

by Antonella Del Rosso