These can include appointments to the Board of Directors, structural changes to the company, executive pay and compensation, a proposed merger or acquisition, and other issues that might impact the company’s stock performance.
Our asset managers are responsible for voting our shares on our behalf, and we ask them to do so in a way that’s in line with our voting principles.
RLAM manage just over 90% of our pension assets, and take their responsibilities as shareowners on our behalf seriously. They actively engage with UK companies they invest in according to principles of good corporate governance in line with their voting policy.
Investing money responsibly is part of everyday business for RLAM, and you can see this when looking at their voting record.
In 2019, Royal London Asset Management's Responsible Investment team voted 15,665 resolutions, and carried out 260 engagements - a 55 per cent increase in the number of engagements from 2018 - with 175 companies. RLAM also became a signatory of the Climate Action 100+, and its European branch, the Institutional Investor Group for Climate Change (IIGCC).
*Please note, the above chart illustrates the topics engaged on throughout 2019. This includes instances where we engaged with one company on multiple topics
I'm Piers Hillier, I'm the Chief Investment Officer at RLAM and I'm responsible for managing the investment teams across the RLAM business.
My name is Ashley Hamilton Claxton, I'm Head of Responsible Investment here at Royal London Asset Management and what I do is I help our investment managers invest members money in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Ultimately companies of key employers and for us from our perspective as investors our job in some ways is to encourage companies to work in a constructive way with society and to be responsible in terms of how they act with society as a whole.
Many of the companies that we invest in provide your everyday services to our members and our customers. So for example companies that develop drugs, life-saving drugs companies that deliver health care service so it's really important that when we're investing our money that we're considering how those companies are being are impacting the environment or society.
As companies become more responsible actually they tend to provide better outcomes in terms of their financial results and often better returns for us as investors as a whole.
We work with companies to try to encourage them to operate in a responsible way so we'll engage with the board and we'll engage with management about things like board structure, having a robust audit, not paying the executives excessively or making sure that the pay is structured appropriately.
Now why is governance important? Well it's important because good governance protects members money. Ultimately if things go wrong we want the board there to make sure that they can steward that company through change or any financial challenges that they have.
So how do I provide the best outcome for you as members is really delivering great investment returns but part of that we believe is actually by thinking and acting in a responsible way, that by utilizing the skills of our investment teams and applying them with an environmental social governance lens, actually provides better outcomes for you as members. Now it's not always the case that that will be so and so what we want to try and do is actually engage with our investments and make sure that actually we're providing better overall outcomes.
It's critical that Royal London protects its members’ interests so we're protecting our pension savers and our life insurance customers’ money, this is number one. And this is one of the things that were due through being a response investor. It's really critical that they're their capitals there to draw on when they're ready to take their pension or take out their life insurance. Being responsible store ensures that we are protecting our customers capital and ultimately going to be there over the long term.
I think we give people a better future by coming back to what we do best which is effectively allocating capital and doing in a way that will provide better outcomes to you. Now our thinking is that actually if we allocate effective capital effectively what we're doing in some ways is actually making sure that the plan is a better place, the environment that we're in is a better place, the social backdrop is better, the governance of companies is better, and so those criteria in some ways we think will give you a better future and better outcomes from our investments.