Firm Commits to Net Zero, Expands Stewardship Resources in 2021
Martin Currie, the active equity specialist and steward of £20.7 billion (US$27.7 billion) in assets under management as of January 31, 2022, released its annual stewardship report detailing its environmental, social and governance (ESG) and stewardship accomplishments in 2021. Martin Currie is a specialist investment manager of Franklin Templeton.
“Investing to create long-term, sustainable value has been at the heart of Martin Currie’s business for more than 140 years. We strongly believe that we can provide world class investment solutions and better financial outcomes for our clients while also contributing to a more sustainable economy, society and environment,” said Martin Currie CEO Julian Ide. “In 2021, our team demonstrated that our stewardship and active ownership approach to ESG delivers for our clients, as 93% of our assets under management and 83% of our funds outperformed their relative benchmarks over a 10-year period.”
“At Martin Currie, our purpose of Investing to Improve Lives guides our partnerships with other investors as well as our business practices. We understand that our investments and the returns we deliver have more than just a financial impact for our clients,” said David Sheasby, Head of Stewardship & ESG for Martin Currie. “Our engagements, proxy voting, reporting and enhanced resources dedicated to ESG demonstrate our commitment to responding and addressing systemic risks in our investments, including climate change, human rights, and sustainable development.”
Martin Currie’s 2021 stewardship and ESG activities included:
Proxy Voting and Engagement
- The firm voted on 4,727 resolutions across 496 shareholder meetings and 42 markets. Martin Currie used proxy voting as a tool to escalate engagement on important issues and voted on 422 resolutions against management at 180 meetings.
- The firm recorded 668 total engagements with 227 companies in 32 different markets, demonstrating its commitment to investing that considers ESG factors alongside financial statements.
- Martin Currie continued to be active in collaborative engagement efforts with other like-minded investors. As part of Climate Action 100+, Martin Currie is leading the engagement with an India-based cement company.
Commitment to Net Zero
- In July 2021, the firm became a signatory to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative (NZAMI), an international group of asset managers committed to supporting the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner, with 236 signatories with $57.5 trillion in assets under management.
- All the firm’s EU-based funds were categorized as SFDR Article 8 funds, meaning that they promote environmental or social characteristics.
Investing to create long-term, sustainable value has been at the heart of Martin Currie’s business for more than 140 years.
Additional Resources Dedicated to Stewardship and ESG
- Martin Currie expanded its ESG team and created a new Stewardship and ESG Council, which is responsible for overseeing the firm’s corporate approach to sustainability and steering the firm’s ESG principles, long-term goals, and execution.
- Martin Currie set ambitious diversity targets across its business and implemented improvements in its internal recruitment strategy to address gender balance.
- In 2021, 60% of new hires in were female, and gender diversity rose from 16% to 21% on the investment team with increased female representation in distribution and on the Executive committee.
Martin Currie’s 2022 stewardship and ESG priorities include:
- Martin Currie will focus on supporting the ambitions of the NZAMI, including setting interim targets for 2030 for the assets managed in line with the goal of net zero and implementing a stewardship and engagement strategy with a clear escalation and voting policy. It will also prioritize the achievement of real economy emissions reductions through engagement with companies.
- The firm is working closely with clients to identify the extent to which clients want their assets to be committed to the NZAMI.
- The firm will broaden its client reporting to include the contributions made to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a portfolio level, engagement activity at a fund level and provide greater detail to clients around climate risk.
- Martin Currie will support clients in meeting their requirements under the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures while the firm meets its own obligations.