Our purpose is intrinsic to our organisational culture as well as to our investment process. We aim to lead the UK wealth sector by taking an intelligent and active approach to responsible investment through
an holistic appraisal of investment opportunity and risk. This incorporates a thorough consideration of relevant environmental, social and governance factors and ongoing engagement with the companies in which we invest on behalf of our clients. In 2019 we set up our responsible investment committee and they adopted our first responsible investment policy
that sits alongside our definition for responsible investment:
“The purposeful integration of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment management processes and ownership practices in the belief that these factors can have an impact on financial performance.”
This important step recognises that ESG factors are material to the performance of companies and sees our group-wide approach take a significant step forward.
Our responsible investment principles
To support our commitment, we have developed a core set of guiding principles which apply to our stewardship and governance-related activities:
- Materiality – We recognise ESG risks can be material to the performance and valuation of companies
- Voting - We actively consider proxy votes for client holdings
- Engagement - Active engagement with companies on governance issues is an important adjunct to voting activities
- Transparency - We report annually on our stewardship activities .
The cornerstone of all responsible investment is an active and considered approach to proxy voting. Since 2010, the group’s voting activity has been coordinated by a dedicated committee, established in line with Rathbones’ obligations under the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and paying heed to the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) UK Stewardship Code.
Active voting, informed by ESG risk awareness, is a core part of our responsible investment policy. Our voting policy was strengthened in several areas in 2019, notably in the area of gender diversity on company boards and on company approaches to reporting the risks of modern slavery in their supply chains.
It is important that we maintain a dialogue with the companies in which we invest, as our clients expect us to use our voice to influence companies towards better, more sustainable long-term performance, which takes account of all stakeholders. In line with the requirements of the EU Shareholder Rights Directive, a formal engagement policy as adopted in June 2019. As owners of the companies in which we invest on behalf of our clients, we undertake dialogue with companies on a wide range of environmental, social and governance issues. This includes issues of strategy, performance, risk, capital structure, corporate governance (including culture and remuneration), environmental management and human capital management. As signatories to the PRI, we make use of the organisation’s Collaboration Platform to participate in engagement on ESG topics with a number of global firms and policy makers.
Our programme participation
We participate in a number of programmes to support our commitment to responsible investment.
- 2019 saw the tenth anniversary of our PRI membership. Alongside our involvement in a number of engagement initiatives we achieved an A+ rating for our strategy and governance disclosure
- Having been members through Rathbone Greenbank for many years, in 2020 we upgraded our membership of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) to a group-wide commitment
- We are a member of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), as well as being an investor signatory to the CDP sister programmes on water disclosure and forestry. In 2019, we improved our score to a ‘B-’ reflecting our continued focus on environmental performance management and climate-related issues.
We work with many other organisations which are committed to ethical investment, sustainable development and social justice to learn more please see our annual report and accounts