How we build ESG into our investment strategy
To understand how we integrate ESG into our day-to-day work, let’s start with an overview of what we do. SLGI Asset Management Inc. is the Portfolio Manager of a suite of managed solutions as well as stand-alone strategies. Our managed solutions include allocations between various asset categories, regions and management styles, using sub-advisors from around the globe.
Our ESG activities in both cases centre on manager selection and ongoing monitoring. We expect our sub-advisors to consider ESG issues at every step of the investment process. This may include comprehensive security and industry analysis, forward-looking portfolio construction and ongoing risk management and monitoring.
Our objective is to assess the long-term sustainability of each investment strategy’s value proposition. Importantly, prospective and current sub-advisors have to demonstrate how ESG considerations factor into their investment decisions to support overall value generation and risk management.
In keeping with our commitment to hold our sub-advisors to account, we monitor each sub-advisor across a broad range of criteria, including ESG integration. This includes quantitative analysis of the portfolio. As well, they are required to complete an in-depth, annual questionnaire that clearly outlines their approach to ESG, and are subject to ongoing monitoring. And, if necessary, we engage with the sub-advisor to help enhance the effectiveness of a strategy’s ESG integration.
In addition, we use third-party tools to measure each portfolio’s ESG characteristics versus their respective investable universes. We also compare how fund characteristics change, both over time and versus peers to identify areas that may require further analysis or engagement.
Further to reviewing how ESG factors are being incorporated in a portfolio today, we also monitor how the process evolves over time to validate that our sub-advisors continue to improve practices, acting as responsible stewards of investors’ assets.
We also emphasize active ownership through proxy voting. A proxy vote gives shareholders a say in specific corporate initiatives. We require each of our sub-advisors to have proxy-voting policies in place and to vote all proxies in the best interest of our unitholders. We also review proxy-voting records to validate that voting is in line with stated policies and objectives.
Reporting to the UN on our progress
By committing to the UN’s PRI initiative, we are required to disclose our progress on achieving sustainable outcomes in an annual report in collaboration with the broader Sun Life organization. In addition, SLGI publicly reports its sustainable investing activities and milestones in Sun Life annual Sustainability Report. Our work within Sun Life allows us to share best practices, and leverage resources to engage with various public task forces and participate in sustainable investing initiatives.