EU Policy Visit
Mike Everett and Beth Meyer met with a number of representatives of the European Commission (EC) and Finance Watch to discuss our process for impact investing. The EC is currently developing future policy relating to sustainable finance and we felt it would be useful to share our methodology centred around the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EC developments appear to be focused on increased transparency for companies and asset managers relating various aspects relating to sustainable business. Our methodology relies on transparent reporting on the SDGs by our investee companies and us as the asset manager. We welcome changes to policy that will assist in delivering clear transparent reporting in this area.
Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA) Annual Conference
Mike Everett attended the ACGA annual conference held in Mumbai. This provided an opportunity to learn at first-hand about the corporate governance developments in Asia generally and India specifically. As a significant developing market in Asia, India has been making strides in developing corporate governance practices to encourage international investment in its companies. Although change and improvements are occurring there remain some areas of increased risk such as the prevalence of owner controlled listed companies and the lack of an independent audit regulator.
Mike also attended and sat on a panel at a roundtable arranged by the National Stock Exchange of India on the Long-term impact of institutional ownership on governance and sustainable investment. The panel covered the role of proxy advisors in the stewardship role of institutional investors.
Chairs of Audit Committees
Deborah Gilshan spoke at a gathering of Chairs of Audit Committees to explain our approach to stewardship and engagement with companies and to highlight our heightened focus on audit and accounting issues in our investee companies.
Westminster Business Forum
We attended a Westminster Business Forum on the future of corporate governance, where we heard from a range of speakers including Professor John Kay, Sanu de Lima from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Professor Alex Edmans from the London Business School, Paul George from the Financial Reporting Council, Catherine Howarth from Share Action, Kerrie Waring from the International Corporate Governance Network and Janet Williamson from the Trades Union Congress.
Business Green Leaders’ Summit
Andy Mason attended business Greens inaugural one-day summit which brought some of the world’s leading thinkers together to discuss how the green economy has evolved over the past decade and where it will develop as it continues to gather pace. Speakers included Alan Whitehead MP, Jonathon Porritt Co-founder of Forum for the Future and Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Climate Scientist and Deputy Head of the Polar Oceans Team British Antarctic Survey.
The event highlighted that 2017 marked a critical moment for green industries. The goals of the Paris Agreement require the urgent scaling up of low carbon infrastructure and business models. Falling clean tech costs, innovative financing models, and effective policies all suggest mass deployment of these 'survival technologies' is both possible and desirable. But at the same time fresh headwinds have emerged in the changes to US policy the growth of economic populism and the challenges presented by Brexit. The question of what happens over the next decade is challenging business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers the world over.
We found it slightly discouraging that some of the speakers believed that the investment community was slower than other sectors to address the challenges which climate change presented. As one of the leading ESG investment houses we believe that our actions will not only serve our clients in tackling the areas above but also serve to improve the sector as whole.