Goldman Sachs Asset Management was a finalist in the Global Group of the Year category at the Investment Week Fund Manager of the Year Awards 2021.
The group also had a number of funds on the shortlist including: Goldman Sachs All China Equity Portfolio; Goldman Sachs India Equity Portfolio; Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio; Goldman Sachs Global Fixed Income Portfolio; Goldman Sachs ESG-Enhanced Europe High Yield Bond Portfolio; Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Portfolio; and the Goldman Sachs Global Multi-Asset Conservative Portfolio.
Here, Investment Week hears from Kristina Teahan, head of UK & Ireland Retail Client Business at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, about the group's response to Covid-19, its contribution to the UK investment industry, and integrating ESG.
How has the group adapted to the huge challenges created by the impact of Covid-19 and provided support for employees and clients?
Irrespective of markets conditions, relationships are integral to our business and communication underpins this. Over the last year, we made extra effort to ensure senior management and investors were more readily available to our clients. This enabled better dialogue and ultimately stronger relationships with our clients.
We continually strive to innovate and the pandemic hasn't changed this. As in-person client interaction was no longer an option, we leveraged new technology and new communication tools such as interactive voting during webinars to gauge client sentiment and better tailor our content to their needs.
The firm was quick to provide tools for our employees to stay well during these challenging times. We benefited from access to online GP services, talks by medical experts as well as virtual fitness groups. We were quick to extend this material and newly acquired knowledge to our clients. As an example, our Strategic Advisory Solutions Group hosted a variety of webinars to share best practices with our clients to ensure their wellbeing.
How have you driven strong performance across your fund range over the period?
On a five-year basis, over 50% of our funds are in the top quartile of their Morningstar peer group. Furthermore, over a quarter of our funds are in the top decile of their peer group. Throughout the pandemic, our investment teams were able to leverage recent, firm-wide investments in technology, meaning functions such as trading could be done remotely with no negative consequence for our clients.
How have you contributed to the wider UK investment industry over the period?
At Goldman Sachs, our mission is to advance sustainable economic growth and financial opportunity. We are committed to serving and supporting the communities in which we live and work. In the UK, our key impact pillars over the last year have been racial equity; entrepreneurship; mental health and Covid-19 relief.
Our investment across these areas has been broad and wide-reaching, with key highlights including: the launch of the Goldman Sachs & Birkbeck Diversity Fund to provide emergency financial aid to minority ethnic students; championing over 1,800 of the UK's most innovative entrepreneurs through our 10,000 Small Businesses program; acting as the cornerstone funder of the Mental Health Innovation and Sustainability Fund, led by the City Mental Health Alliance; and financial support for frontline healthcare providers, including a $1m grant to the Barts Charity, which supports the Barts Health NHS Trust.
How are you effectively integrating sustainable and ESG factors into your investment processes and engaging with and influencing the companies in which you invest?
We often think about the future as long-term investors. More than ever, our focus is centred on ensuring the sustainability of the planet, our society and economic growth.
Each day, we help our clients invest across asset classes, sectors and regions through a variety of funds and strategies - many incorporate ESG factors, which we believe are increasingly central to a traditional evaluation of risk and return.
Today, Goldman Sachs manages $145bn in ESG investments across a broad and diverse suite of capabilities.
Our investment professionals have long evaluated factors that today are considered ESG. We partner with dedicated engineers and data analysts to inform ESG analysis and derive investment views.
We also demonstrate responsible ownership through our global proxy voting policy, which is updated annually to incorporate current beliefs on key governance and ESG topics.