Martin Currie Calls for Asset Management Coalition to Drive Change
May 18, 2020 /3BL Media/ - Martin Currie, the active equity specialist and steward of £9,703 billion (USD12,031 billion) in assets under management, calls on other asset managers to create coalitions in order to drive change.
In its newly published annual stewardship report, Martin Currie explains that such engagements allow asset managers to influence companies in which they invest to encourage sustainable returns over the long term. The report details its efforts to address specific issues – namely water risks, cybersecurity and tax responsibility – collaboratively.
“The investment industry is at a critical juncture. We have reached a point where it is no longer possible, or acceptable, to think of our actions as simply defined by the binary outcomes of financial risk and return. As the pressures of human activity on our planet become increasingly impactful – whether through pandemic risk, climate threat or biodiversity loss – asset managers must make their voices heard,” said Martin Currie’s CEO, Julian Ide. “The value of these collaborative approaches comes from the forum they create to share insights and leverage collective expertise as well as set the terms and targets for discussion to ensure we can develop constructive relationships with companies.”
In addition to its work globally with multiple companies via eight coalitions, Martin Currie recorded 178 one-on-one engagements with corporate management teams in 2019. Those activities, coupled with its proxy voting record – it voted on 6,931 resolutions across 665 shareholder meetings – demonstrate the firm’s commitment to investing that considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors alongside financial statements.
“Looking beyond a company’s financial statements helps us understand how a business is evolving, how it is impacted by changes in the external environment and how it can deliver sustainable returns over the long term while creating value for all of its stakeholders,” said David Sheasby, Martin Currie’s Head of Stewardship and ESG.
New Alignment with TCFD
For the first time, Martin Currie has aligned its activities with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which develops voluntary, consistent climate-related financial disclosures to provide information to investors and other stakeholders.
“We believe the TCFD framework is a vitally important tool to understand how companies are managing climate-related risks,” Sheasby said. “We’ve identified the key material risks and opportunities for each industry we invest in. We’ve also analysed the carbon footprint of our portfolios, identifying the overall profile and main contributors to the carbon footprint.”
This strategy analysis is one of the four key areas of disclosure called for by the TCFD. It also calls on investors to take into account a company’s governance, risk management, metrics and targets.
“As the effects of global warming become increasingly evident, businesses need to consider both the physical impacts of climate change and the implications of the transition to a lower-carbon environment. We believe asset managers have a hugely important role to play in this journey, not only in their duty of fiduciary care to clients on this issue, but also in guiding companies towards consistent and measurable practices,” he added.
Additional ESG Highlights
Here are additional highlights from Martin Currie’s newest stewardship report:
- Implemented a proprietary ESG ratings system focused on governance and sustainability.
- Aligned with the U.K. Stewardship Code Principles, which establish a clear benchmark for the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital.
- Received an A+ rating from the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) – the highest rating possible – across all three categories.
- Won the Global Stewardship Disclosure Award for its 2019 stewardship report from the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN).
Notes to editors
Martin Currie is an active equity specialist, crafting high-conviction portfolios for client-focused solutions. Investment excellence is at the heart of our business. Central to this philosophy is a stock-driven approach, based on in-depth fundamental research, active ownership of companies and skilled portfolio construction. As an affiliate of Legg Mason, we also have the backing of one of the world’s largest asset management firms.
This information is issued and approved by Martin Currie Investment Management Limited (‘MCIM’). It does not constitute investment advice. The information has been compiled with considerable care to ensure its accuracy. But no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made to its accuracy or completeness. Martin Currie has procured any research or analysis contained for its own use. Any opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.
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