Another 18 local and international fund managers have joined the five New Zealand government-related fund managers who last month called for greater controls on multi-national social media owners Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Spokesman for the initiative, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund chief executive Matt Whineray, says the 23 fund managers making the call have more than $800 billion in funds under management – the original five funds managed more than $90 billion.

Facebook’s current market capitalisation is US$475.7 billion, Google’s parent Alphabet’s market capitalisation is US$816.8 billion and Twitter’s is US$25.1 billion.

Facebook also owns Instagram while Google owns YouTube.

“The objective of the engagement is to convince social media companies Facebook, Google and Twitter to strengthen controls to prevent the live-streaming and distribution of objectionable content,” such as the shootings that took place in Christchurch on Friday, March 15, the managers say.

“Our initial focus has been on building a broad coalition of New Zealand investors. We have been delighted to receive swift and wholehearted support for the initiative from the wider New Zealand investment sector,” Whineray says.

“There is also a groundswell of international interest and support. We are now seeking the involvement of other leading institutional investors globally,” he says.

International fund managers who have joined the group include AMP Capital, Australian Ethical, Church of England Pension Fund Forum, Merseyside Pension Fund and Vic Super.

Locally, AMP Financial Services, the ANZ, ASB and BNZ banks’ investment arms, Booster, Devon Funds, JMI Wealth, Select Wealth, Clarity, Mercer NZ, Milford Asset Management, PIE Funds, Juno KiwiSaver Scheme, Rata Foundation, Simplicity and Westpac/BT Funds Management.

The join the Super Fund, ACC, the Government Superannuation Fund Authority, the National Provident Fund and Kiwi Wealth.

“Collective action from multiple investors has the best chance of success. The combination of New Zealand’s investor voice and a global coalition of shareholders has the potential to be immensely powerful,” Whineray says.

Both he and NZ Super Fund chair Catherine Savage will be speaking to a number of influential global investors about the initiative while in London this week.

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