PRI Report Cards – Who scored an A+?

Asset managers signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are beginning to receive their 2018 report cards from the association on how well ESG metrics are incorporated into their investment processes.

Asset managers signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are beginning to receive their 2018 report cards from the association on how well ESG metrics are incorporated into their investment processes.

Each year, signatories must submit a transparency report on their investment processes. This is made publicly available and assessed by the PRI. Processes in a range of different categories are graded in a formal report which is sent back to managers in July. The assessment does not rate signatories purely at a corporate level.

Those signatories which have declared so far for 2018 include BNP Paribas Asset Management, Fidelity International, Martin Currie, Neuberger Berman, NN Investment Partners and Rathbones.

PRI Report Cards 2018
(This list will be updated as more fund managers announce, or comment on, their PRI ratings.)

Allianz Global Investors / Pimco
Principles for Responsible Investment initiative has awarded top scores and A+ ratings to Allianz SE, Allianz Global Investors and Pimco for their respective responsible investment strategies and governance. Steffen Hoerter, global head of ESG, said: “It is great to see that our efforts have been recognised by the PRI. We are committed to integrating ESG factors into all investment decisions across all asset classes on our global investment platform.”

BNP Paribas Asset Management
BNP Paribas Asset Management was one of the earlier signatories to the PRI, having signed up back in 2006.

The French fund outfit has implemented its own responsible investment policy since 2012 and applied ESG criteria to almost all of its mutual funds. It has been awarded the highest score of A+ for its global approach to responsible investing every year since implementing its responsible investment policy in 2012.

In a statement announcing this year’s A+ score for its global approach to responsible investing, a spokesperson said: “The integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) criteria has become a key issue for investors and the PRI’s annual assessment of each of the 1,800 signatory companies enables them to identify those asset managers with the strongest approach to responsible investment.”

Candriam Investors Group
Candriam Investors Group has announced it has scored an A+ rating in this year’s PRI scorecard, it’s fourth year of being awarded a top rating. The company said in a statement that the grading was the result of significant work since the company became a PRI signatory in 2006.

“Candriam’s consistent achievement in obtaining the highest possible score available from PRI demonstrates our long-term success in putting ESG and transparency at the core of our daily work,” said Isabelle Cabie, global head of Responsible Development at Candriam. The company’s full submission is available here.

Fidelity International
Fidelity’s scorecard improved on its 2017 result, with higher scores in the Listed Equity Incorporation and Active Ownership categories. In fact, Fidelity scored A+ in Strategy and Governance, Listed Equity Incorporation, Active Ownership, Fixed Income (Corporate, non-financial) and Fixed Income (SSA).

The company signed up to the PRI back in 2012 and it claims that it has outperformed the peer group median for the first time this year for all reported modules.

Mike Gibb, head of Stewardship and Sustainable Investment at Fidelity International said: “ESG integration is at the heart of what we do; we believe that by investing in companies which operate with high standards of corporate responsibility we can protect and enhance investment returns for our clients. This year’s Assessment Report from PRI reflects our continued commitment to responsible investing for our clients.”

Martin Currie
Edinburgh-based manager Martin Currie made it two years in a row with an A+ rating when it announced its gradings on Wednesday. The fund firm took A+ scores for Strategy and Governance, Incorporation and Active Ownership.

David Sheasby, head of stewardship and ESG at the investment group said: “Retaining our A+ PRI ratings is excellent news and validation of the time and effort invested in further developing our stewardship and ESG capabilities.

“In 2017, we employed a big-four consultancy to carry out a gap analysis on our ESG approach; built a new internal ESG hub and enhanced our internal training programme; promoted the merits of responsible investment at several global events and delivered bespoke ESG training to clients and consultants. All this was in addition to a busy year of company engagement and proxy voting. I am pleased to say this pace of progress is unwavering at Martin Currie.”

Neuberger Berman
Neuberger Berman was one of the first to announce its 2018 ratings. The firm improved its annual rating in every category, obtaining the highest score of A+ for its approach to strategy and governance and for ESG integration across equity, fixed income and private equity asset classes.

The company said it is rated above the peer median on every category.
“These top scores reflect a concerted global effort to apply ESG criteria in the pursuit of investment outperformance,” said George Walker, CEO of Neuberger Berman in a statement.

“Engagement and judgment are fundamental to Neuberger Berman’s mission to be responsible stewards of client capital, and ESG-aware investing is core to that approach.”

NN Investment Partners
Dutch asset manager, NN Investment Partners received the top score of A+ for its Strategy & Governance approach to responsible investing and ESG integration.

It also received both A and A+ scores for the Active Ownership modules, slightly improving from previous years. As a result, NN IP now claims to rank among the top of all global asset managers that have signed the PRI in this category.

In the sub-category Equity Investments and Corporate Non-Financial Fixed Income NN IP received an A+ score for the robustness of its screening methods and the process of ESG integration into the investment analysis.
The fund group has been a signatory of the United Nations-supported PRI since 2008 and has been active in responsible investing since 1999.
Adrie Heinsbroek, principal for Responsible Investment at NN Investment Partners, said: “We need to keep moving forward as we cannot be complacent. Integrating ESG factors in investment processes is an important investment basic, but the importance of being a committed responsible investor grows, also within the PRI assessment.

“Demonstrating the ability to put your principles into action will become more and more important. NN IP engages actively with its investee companies as well as exercises its voting rights in accordance with our investment beliefs. This year’s assessment underlines our progress but also shows were we can improve.”

On Wednesday, Rathbone Brothers announced it has received its first ever A+ score for Strategy and Governance (Responsible Investment) in the annual PRI gradings. The company took to social media to celebrate.
In a statement issued to ESG Clarity, Matt Crossman, stewardship director at Rathbones, said: “As a leading wealth manager, we have a duty to act in the best long-term interests of our clients. Our stewardship process, reflected through our membership of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (which represents over $70trn of assets under management globally), reflects our view that environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can have a material effect on the performance of investment portfolios.

“Our first A+ rating in the UN PRI Assessment Report regarding our strategy and governance around responsible investing, is a strong endorsement of the foundations we have built to date, particularly in the area of corporate governance.”

For the fourth consecutive year, Schroders has achieved an A+ rating for its overall Strategy & Governance approach to responsible investing and ESG integration.

Jessica Ground, global head of Stewardship, Schroders, said: “As long-term investors, ESG integration and stewardship is integral to what we do. Our PRI rating reflects our long-standing commitment to responsible investment and active ownership. We continue to develop new tools to strengthen ESG integration across investment desks and asset classes.”
Schroders has been integrating ESG factors since 1998 and has been a signatory to the UN PRI since 2007.