BMO (F&C) Responsible UK Income 1 Acc (OEIC/Unit Trust)
SRI / Ethical Overview
The Fund’s focus is on achieving an above average income through investments in approved UK companies. Within its responsible ethical principles the fund is managed as any other: the Lead Fund Manager, Catherine Stanley, uses bottom up company analysis within a clear portfolio construction framework to create a fund capable of generating compelling investment performance. The ethical principles mean we are largely precluded from investing in some sectors, but have a large number of companies to choose from nevertheless.
The fund may also include exposure to ethically screened corporate bonds to assist in meeting its income target.
SRI / themed / ethical assets under management – overview
- Fund Size (GBP): £320.5m as at 30 June 2017
- Total value of SRI/ethical/environmental/ social/ environmental or sustainability themed funds under management: £1,693m as at 30 June 2017
- Total value of assets covered by responsible ownership policy: As at 31 March 2017 our flagship reo® service, a global engagement and proxy voting service that can be applied across equities and corporate credit, covered a total of £108,913m of assets for internal holdings and external clients.
- Total assets under management: £187,319m as at 31 March 2017
SRI Policies (Primary strategy in bold)
- Environmental policy Find investment funds with environmental policies - ie that consider issues such as pollution, climate change, resource management, environmental impact. This will include options from all of the different SRI Styles, including funds where their core strategy is to focus on other areas such as ethical funds. See fund information for fund specific policy details.
- Health & wellbeing policies Find ethical or sustainable investment fund options that have a policy which supports (ie aims to invest in) companies that are viewed as offering positive lifestyle, health or wellbeing related benefits.
- Limits exposure to carbon intensive industries Find environmental, sustainable investment, ethical fund and other options that aim to significantly reduce or limit exposure to carbon intensive industries (ie sectors which are major contributors to climate change). Funds vary - strategies may involve excluding sectors such as coal, oil & gas, mining or airlines - or may indicate a 'best in sector' approach is taken. See fund literature for details.
- Sustainability policy Find fund options that consider issues relating to the sustainability agenda (e.g. resource management, environmental impact, climate change and/or social issues such as equal opportunities, human rights and adherence to recognised codes). This will include funds from all of the different SRI Styles. See fund information for explanations of the different strategies.
- Ethical policies Find funds with 'traditional' ethical investment policies. These typically focus on avoiding companies that are involved in the armaments industry, tobacco, gambling and/or pornography. Options will include funds where their core strategy or style may be to focus other issues - like sustainability or the environment, not just 'ethical funds'. Strategies vary significantly. Check fund literature for details.
- Social policy Find fund options that consider social issues (e.g. human rights, labour standards, equal opportunities, child labour and adherence to internationally recognised codes such as the UN Global Compact). This will include funds in most of the different SRI Styles as this is considered a core issue. See fund information for detail.
- Governance policy Find fund options that have policies that relate to corporate governance issues such as board structure, executive remuneration, bribery and/or corporate corruption. These funds will typically avoid companies with poor practices.
- Animal welfare policy Find ethical fund options that have policies that require specific animal welfare standards to be adopted by investee companies in order for them to be considered for inclusion within the fund.
- Nuclear exclusion policy Find ethical funds (and other options) that have a published policy that sets out the fund's position on avoiding or limiting exposure to nuclear power. See fund literature for details of their policy.
- Animal testing exclusion policy Find ethical investment options that avoid companies that are involved in testing their products on animals. Ethical fund strategies vary - some exclude all companies that test on animals, others allow companies that test for medical purposes or where required by law. Read fund details for fund specific information.
- Tobacco production avoided Find fund options that exclude manufacturers of tobacco (or related) products. This typically relates to ethical funds however funds from other SRI Styles commonly avoid this area also. Strategies vary and funds may invest in retailers of such products (e.g. supermarkets or hotels.) See fund information for further information.
- Armaments manufacturers avoided Find ethical fund (and other SRI) options that avoid avoids companies that manufacture products intended specifically for military use. Fund strategies vary - particularly with regard to non strategic military products. Read fund literature for specific details.
- Coal, oil &/or gas majors excluded Find sustainable investment and ethical fund options that avoid significant involvement in coal, oil and/or gas producing companies. Funds vary. See individual fund literature to confirm details.
- Climate change / GHG policy Find sustainable investment and ethical fund options that pay significant attention to climate change related issues such as greenhouse gas/carbon emissions. Strategies vary, see fund literature for individual fund information.
- Invests in clean energy/renewables Find ethical, sustainable investment and other environmentally aware fund options that aim to invest in companies in the clean technology and renewable energy sectors. Fund strategies vary. Some funds may have limited exposure to this area, others may have significant exposure. Check fund literature for details.
- Alcohol production excluded This filter helps you to find ethical funds - and other options - that avoid investment in alcohol production. See fund literature for further information.
- Fracking and tar sands excluded Find fund options that avoid companies involved in fracking and tar sands - which are widely regarded as more controversial methods of oil and gas extraction.
- Gambling avoidance policy Find ethical fund options (and other options) that avoid companies with significant involvement in the gambling industry. See fund policy for details.
- Pornography avoidance policy Find ethical fund option - and in some cases other options - that avoid companies that derive significant income from pornography. See fund details for further information.
- Human rights Find funds that consider human rights practices when approving companies for investment. Such funds will require decent standards of human rights to be demonstrated - which typically means adherence to international norms as a minimum standard.
- Positive selection bias Find funds where their main 'ethical approach' is to invest in companies that are considered to be positive/good or useful to people and/or the environment. The fund may also have negative avoidance criteria - see fund details to read more about fund strategies.
- Balances company 'pros and cons'/best in sector Find ethical funds and other options that consider both the 'positive' things companies do and the 'negative' things they do in order to make balanced, often complex decisions about where they might invest. Such funds often invest in the best/most ethical companies across most industries ('best in sector'), rather than excluding entire sectors. The fund manager may combine this with 'responsible engagement' activity to encourage better business practices. See fund literature for specific policy explanations.
- Eurosif transparency Find funds that meet the standards of the EUROSIF transparency Code. This means that they are a leading fund in terms of openness and transparency, publishing - for example - extensive information about where they invest and how they deal with companies.
- Sustainability themed Find funds where there is a significant emphasis on sustainability issues either as its primary strategy or as a core strategy that compliments other criteria. (This may apply to a number of different SRI Styles). Such funds will consider environmental and social issues when making stock selection decisions. Read fund literature for further information.
- Favours companies with strong social policies Find funds that invest in line with positive strategies that relate to 'people' issues - such as having strong human rights, labour standards and equal opportunities practices. Such funds are likely to invest in companies that have market leading standards with regard to employee and supplier practices. Read fund literature for further information.
- Strictly screened ethical fund Find funds that have a high level of negative ethical avoidance. These funds are likely to exclude more companies than other ethical (and SRI) fund options. Read fund literature for further information.
- Aims to generate positive impacts Find funds that aim to help deliver positive social or environmental impacts or outcomes through their investment decisions - which typically involves holding companies that are viewed as being necessary or beneficial. Strategies and approaches vary. A small number of funds have recently started to measure outcomes (see 'Measures Impacts' in the Policy filter). This is a new area - so most funds do not do this yet. See fund literature for further information.
- Available via an ISA Find funds that are available via a tax efficient ISA product wrapper
- Over 50% small/mid cap Find funds where more than half of the funds' assets are invested in smaller or medium sized companies (ie below around £5 -10 billion).
- ESG/SRI engagement Find funds and fund management companies that actively encourages higher 'environmental, social and governance' and/or 'sustainable and responsible investment' practices amongst investee companies - when positive change is aligned with the best interest of investors. This may apply to a single fund or a group of funds. Read fund literature for further information.
- Responsible Ownership policy for non SRI funds Find funds run by fund managers that apply Responsible Ownership or 'Stewardship' policies to all or most of their investment assets. This means that active involvement (e.g. voting, dialogue) with the companies they invest in across funds (not normally limited to ethical or SRI options.) Read fund literature for further information.
- Integrates ESG factors into all/most fund research Find fund management companies that research environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues when deciding whether or not to invest in a company. This typically applies to all funds, not only those which are promoted as being 'ethical' or 'SRI themed'. This is increasingly often used as a risk management tool.
- Vote all* shares at AGMs/EGMs This fund manager votes or aims to vote all* the shares they own at Annual General Meetings and Extraordinary General Meetings. A commitment to voting shares is a key indicator of 'responsible share ownership' - where fund managers consider - and express their views on - the key business issues effecting the companies they part own. (*Allowance is made for exceptional situations such as when shares are in the process of being sold.)
- In house responsible ownership/voting expertise Find fund / fund management companies where there is in-house expertise that enables the fund manager to make their own decisions on issues such as shareholder voting, setting of in-house guidelines - for example - particularly with regard to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
- Responsible Ownership/ESG a key differentiator The fund managers have said they consider this area to be a key differentiator for their business
- UK Stewardship Code signatory Find fund managers that are signatories to the FRC UK Stewardship Code, which sets out a framework for constructive investor / investee relations where fund managers are encouraged to behave as responsible 'company owners'.
- Publish Responsible Ownership/Stewardship report Find fund management companies that publish information on their approach to responsible investment ownership - also known as 'Stewardship' - following the introduction of 'the Stewardship Code'. This sets out their approach to voting, dialogue with company management and any related activity. This is publicly available.
- Publish full voting record Find fund management companies that publishes a full record of how they vote at AGMs and EGMs. This information is publicly available.
- Regularly lead collaborative ESG initiatives Find funds managed by fund management companies that regularly initiate or help run industry wide (collaborative) investor projects aimed at raising environmental, social and governance standards amongst investee companies.
- PRI signatory Find fund management companies that have signed up to the UN backed 'Principles of Responsible Investment' initiative.
SRI / Ethical Policy
At BMO Global Asset Management, we have been a leader in the development of sustainable investment strategies for almost three decades. Responsible investment is central to our corporate identity and integral to our global investment philosophy.
Ethical considerations are becoming increasingly important in the mind set of many investors. In addition, there is also a growing consensus that the best long term performance will come from those companies that take their wider ethical, environmental and social responsibilities seriously. The fund provides an investment medium for people who do not regard financial gain as the sole criterion for investment, but look to wider issues. It seeks to invest in UK companies offering attractive growth and income characteristics, avoiding investment in those that have harmful effects.
We conduct in-house research on each company considered for the Fund and have product-based (ethical) criteria as well as conduct-based (sustainability management assessment) criteria. Below is a summary of the criteria:
- Nuclear power generation
- Oil, gas and coal reserves
- Arctic and ecologically-sensitive operations
- Environmental management
- Animal Welfare
- Health and safety
- Human rights and oppressive regimes
- Labour standards
- Business ethics
The GSI team has a quarterly monitoring system to identify:
- Changes to business e.g. through mergers and acquisitions
- Whether the criteria continues to be met by the company (ethical, environmental and social)
- Any controversies that may affect the company rating (e.g. mis-selling, environmental damage or corruption).
Resources, Affiliations & Corporate Strategies
The F&C Responsible UK Income Fund is managed by three distinct teams with the process led by the Investment Management team. The interaction between our teams is detailed in the following chart:
- 1. The Responsible UK Equities Team manages the strategy using fundamental, bottom-up research to construct a portfolio of companies from the acceptable universe. Following approval for inclusion in the ethical universe the investment team is responsible for deeper investment analysis, portfolio construction and ongoing monitoring.
- 2. The Governance and Sustainable Investment Team (GSI Team) undertakes extensive research on ethical, environmental, social and governance issues for each company proposed for inclusion or actively held within the fund as outlined above. They reach a conclusion about whether a company should be included in the investable universe in conjunction with input from the Responsible Investment Advisory Council. Once a stock has been included the team is responsible for managing ongoing engagement and proxy voting.
- 3. The independent external Responsible Investment Advisory Council is an external body of sustainability experts who focus on providing advice on ethical and sustainability criteria, helping the firm maintain the integrity of the standards by which the funds are run.
BMO Global Asset Management draws on a range of specialist ESG research sources to inform proxy voting and engagement activities. We are using Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) for global proxy voting research and vote execution services. In addition, we are using Institutional Voting Information Service (IVIS) for supplementary advice on FTSE All-Share companies. Other relevant resources include sell-side brokers (corporate governance and sustainability research) and MSCI (ESG factors). We also consider research by broader stakeholders including NGOs such as Transparency International (anti-corruption), Oxfam and Human Rights Watch.
Our research is also informed by our networks that may provide briefings and publications, including the UN PRI, International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA). We may also draw on external consultants with expertise in particular areas, although presently we have no such arrangements underway. We are also part of a global asset management firm with investment professionals and other expert resources spread across the world, and we of course have access to their insight and expertise on an as needed basis.