Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance
Edited by Christina Garsten and Adrienne Sörbom
Chapter 7: Talking like an institutional investor: on the gentle voices of financial giants
By an analysis of the talk of institutional investors Anette Nyqvist describes and discusses some of the ways in which organizations having the primary goal of ‘making money’ increasingly also embark on projects of ‘doing good’. Empirically, Nyqvist focuses institutional investors, such as mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds. These are large shareholder organizations commissioned to manage other people’s money which in later decades have emerged as influential front figures of the responsible investment industry, claiming to make money and make a difference and positioning themselves as the ‘active’ and ‘responsible’ do-gooders of finance. The chapter shows how institutional investors, seen as normative intermediary organizations, use ‘voice’, ‘dialogue’ and ‘small talk’ with the intent to (1) define and position themselves as a particular type of financial market actor, (2) foster and try to change companies that they own shares in and (3) set new standards for the investment industry.
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