We believe that the assessment of ‘responsible investment’ at a listed company level can uncover valuable insights, helping us assess opportunities and value at risk. We feel that only full integration of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) issues into the investment process fosters real sensitivity to ESG issues and their impact on valuation, stock rating, conviction and portfolio weighting. Our goal is to ensure that we consider all aspects of responsible investment when we undertake stock analysis and assess companies for possible inclusion into portfolios.
We assess this information in a holistic way to form a view on whether the corporate entity will, based on current business strategy and corporate practices, produce superior investment results. We believe that a thematic focus or investment screening process to eliminate companies based on responsible investment metrics is not the ideal way to deliver long-term wealth. Applying ‘broad brush’ approaches can lead to investment opportunities being ‘screened out’ when ESG themes are too broadly applied. That said, we do classify any stocks that have active exposure to tobacco, gaming, armaments and pornography as non-investment grade.
The vast bulk of our ESG research is undertaken via detailed stock analysis from our in-house investment team. ESG information is obtained from multiple sources including data published by companies, information obtained in meetings, material from the company’s competitors, customers or suppliers, industry bodies, government departments and some not for profit organisations.
We became a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) in July 2008. We decided that we would focus on the UNPRI as it fits in with our investment process and determining value at risk. We made the UNPRI principles the basis of our Investment Policy and Investment Framework. This framework enables us to use our small company contacts and investments to focus on key UNPRI issues around environmental footprint, sustainability, social impacts, workers’ rights, gender balance as well as corporate oversight, reporting and governance.
We vote on 100% of the resolutions that we are able to as we believe that we should have a view on the operation of the company, reflecting our fiduciary responsibility to ensure we act in the best interests of clients. We do not use proxy advisors to make our voting decisions for us.
We maintain a small office and offset 120% of our annual carbon footprint.