Asset Engagement

We use our influence as an asset owner to engage our ‘market-rate portfolio’ asset managers and the market more broadly on: responsible investment; environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues; and shareholder engagement with investee companies.

Example Cazenove

Cazenove were the winners of our 2020 ‘ESG olympics‘. Since then they have launched the ‘sustainable growth fund’. We held a joint webinar with Cazenove to launch the fund and our ESG olympics ‘state of the sector 2020’ report, based on assessment of the 59 proposals received. The report and recommended minimum ESG standards received a lot of asset owner, asset manager, and press interest.

Following engagement with Cazenove regarding underlying fund manager compliance with the report’s recommended standards, Cazenove recently came back with new policy and disclosure announcements from Schroders.

As a result of Friends Provident Foundation’s (FPF) asset manager and market engagement, the UK’s largest asset manager will now:

  • Take a default position of voting in favour of all shareholder resolutions on ESG issues, taking a “support or explain” approach.
  • Escalate engagement to voting against management where there is a lack of progress.
  • Disclose voting in line with our recommendations

This is significant behaviour change. If it becomes the sector norm, it will dramatically increase ESG’s ability to bring about change in markets and the economy.

Cazenove Investor Forum – June 2021

Cazenove held its first Investor Forum for clients in the new Sustainable Growth Fund. The Forums will be held every six months and form part of the commitment to ‘radical transparency’ and ‘active client participation’ in the new fund.

A discussion was held on the ‘Ethics of Big Tech’ and CB presented on a selection of material ESG risks for Alphabet (parent company of Google and YouTube), the Fund’s second largest holding. Disinformation was agreed as a priority engagement issue for 2021/22.

 

 

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