Anna Haugaard, analyst at Brewin Dolphin
Our ESG/SRI fund manager selection is designed to find those managers who we believe will offer returns competitive with traditional managers but who will also make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the environment, society and financial system through their investment practices.
We have a series of face-to-face meetings with managers and also with the relevant ESG/responsible investment teams and analysts who support them.
In terms of active ownership, we want to see that the firm has a structured engagement programme in place to monitor its investee companies on ESG issues.
Regular, detailed, transparent and public reporting is a start, but we also spend time discussing with managers the company engagements they have had over the years.
We do not expect managers to never have any controversies crop up in portfolios, but where these do occur, we expect them to have meaningful dialogue with the company and be prepared to divest if standards are not met.
One such fund is Comgest World Growth. Comgest is a private French boutique running around €30bn, yet its ESG credentials are well ahead of the industry. I
t typically served institutional clients with complex screening requirements, so we can be confident our excluded list of industries will not end up in the fund.
The fund invests in very high-quality companies with persistent and sustainable earnings and allows those to compound over the long term.
The fund draws best ideas from Comgest's regional teams and having met with managers from the global and regional teams we could see that ESG issues are synonymous with fundamentals.