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Financial firms defend cash gifts to Parliamentary corporate group

M&G, Legal & General, Fidelity, and PricewaterhouseCoopers have defended their donations to an all-party Parliamentary corporate governance group.

The APPG was formed in 2004 to “develop and enhance the understanding of corporate governance at Westminster and influence future policy making”.

The group is wholly funded by donations and reports last week suggested the funding arrangements give the perception of “undue influence” over policy by companies and wealthy individuals. The group received £93,244 in donations in the past year, including £10,000 from M&G, £7,500 from Pricewaterhouse- Coopers and £5,000 from both L&G and Fidelity.

An L&G spokesman says it is useful to be involved with the APPG because it is at the “forefront of Government policy on corporate governance”.

He says: “We contribute to debates, listen to what is going on, help and shape policy decisions. This is a group of MPs and lords, so it is as open and transparent as you can get. Information on donations is publicly available.”

An M&G spokesman says: “M&G does not make contributions to political parties. The APPG is subject to all the usual regulatory requirements for such Parliamentary bodies and its annual activities are clearly disclosed on the group’s website.”

A Fidelity spokeswoman says: “Members may not have come into much contact with these kind of issues so we participate to help them understand what we are doing.”

PwC says the money is used to host events and facilitate discussions between interested parties on corporate governance.

Facts and Figures managing director Simon Webster says: “It is important these institutions do engage but it is a shame the system gives the opportunity only to those with deep pockets.”

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