NZ Crown Financial Institutions appoint BMO Global Asset Management to support Responsible Investment engagements globally
POSTED ON: 30 June 2015
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super Fund), Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Government Superannuation Fund (GSF) have appointed BMO Global Asset Management to provide responsible investment engagement services globally.
Collectively, the three New Zealand Crown Financial Institutions (CFIs) manage investment portfolios worth in excess of NZ$60 billion (US$41 billion).
Matt Whineray, Chief Investment Officer for the NZ Super Fund, said environmental, social and governance factors were material to long-term investment returns. “We therefore believe it is important companies manage these factors well.”
“We look forward to working with BMO to increase the reach and effectiveness of our global engagement programme. Company engagement is central to our stewardship of the Fund and our commitment to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. The NZ Super Fund has grown significantly in recent years and the additional resource and expertise provided by BMO will help us do justice to what is an important part of our work as a long-term investor.”
Mr. Whineray said the additional resource provided by BMO Global Asset Management would enable the NZ Super Fund’s in-house investment professionals to increase their focus on New Zealand company engagements and other priorities. The in-house team would retain strategic oversight of international engagements, he said.
Paul Bevin, General Manager Investments for the Government Superannuation Fund, said: “Collaborative engagement by multiple investors is more effective than acting alone in influencing company behaviour. BMO will facilitate this collaboration by the CFIs and other like-minded global investors.”
Barry McInerney, Co-CEO, BMO Global Asset Management, said: “We believe in generating long-term value for our clients, and so we are very pleased to be working in partnership with the CFIs in using their ownership rights to support the sound management of ESG factors at companies. This is part of a wider industry trend with institutional investors increasingly interested in encouraging companies to reduce their business risks, and holding them to account. Responsible investment is a part of what defines BMO Global Asset Management and will continue to be a core area of our business.”
BMO Global Asset Management’s global engagement service, known as reo®, is currently applied to £68.3bn ($106.5billion / €88billion) of assets.* It covers a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and will, on behalf of the three CFIs, engage with specific companies encouraging them to actively manage risk and enhance their business performance by adopting better ESG practices.
BMO Global Asset Management’s engagement team holds senior-level meetings with companies across a range of sectors. In 2014 they engaged nearly 800 companies across 50 countries on a wide range of ESG issues. These included: corporate governance, social and environmental governance, business ethics, human rights, labour standards, public health and environmental standards and performance.
*as at 31st December 2014
About NZ Super Fund:
The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is a sovereign wealth fund established by the New Zealand Government to partially pre-fund the future cost of universal pension payments. A long-term, growth-oriented investor, the Fund has returned 10.2% p.a. since inception in 2003. The Fund is managed by the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, a Crown entity. The NZ Super Fund has holdings in more than 6,000 listed companies globally. Funds under management were $29.6 billion as at 31 May 2015.
About BMO Global Asset Management:
BMO Global Asset Management is a global investment manager delivering service excellence from 24 offices in 14 countries to clients across five continents. Including discretionary and nondiscretionary assets, BMO Global Asset Management had more than US$254 billion in assets under management, as of April 30, 2015. BMO Global Asset Management is a part of BMO Financial Group (NYSE: BMO), a fully diversified financial services organization with C$633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees.
The purpose of the reo® (responsible engagement overlay) service is to engage with companies held in portfolios with a view to promoting the adoption of better environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. The reo® approach focuses on enhancing long-term investment performance by making companies more commercially successful through safer, cleaner, and more accountable operations that are better positioned to deal with ESG risks and opportunities. Through a combination of constructive dialogue and active share voting, reo® works to drive behavioural change with companies, and records successful outcomes as ‘milestones’ – changes in corporate policies or behaviour following intervention.