We consider that companies that implement strong governance practices and effectively manage the environmental and social impact of their business activities are more likely to generate superior performance and long-term value for investors and our society.
Our firm’s strategy has been aligned with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) for a decade.
We have been a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) since 2011, which is an investor initiative in partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact. In addition, our organization was a founding member of the Quebec network of PRI signatories in 2012. Our firm’s most recent Transparency Report can be found here.
Good corporate governance starts within our firm.
We believe it is important to have strong corporate policies in place to guide us. As such, the following policies are available and updated regularly:
- Responsible Investment Policy
- Proxy Voting Policy
- Code of Ethics
- Policy against harassment
- Policy on diversity and inclusion
Our Responsible Investment Committee was created in 2018 and meets on a regular basis to discuss the firm’s Responsible Investment strategy and initiatives, and to ensure that these are aligned with client expectations and industry standards. It is composed of five permanent members being three portfolio managers, one from client servicing and the other from marketing and communications.
ESG criteria have been at the heart of our investment processes since 2004.
When referring to our internally managed investment strategies*, the consideration of ESG factors is integrated in our investment processes from idea generation, fundamental and external research to the team’s final decision to invest in the company and the continuous monitoring of portfolio holdings.
It all began in 2004 with the publication of our Proxy Voting Policy, value-based exclusions (“sin stocks”), shareholder activism, which were applied to all investment strategies. Today, we choose to promote risk reduction through exclusions; we also use positive screening and we exert influence through active shareholder engagement.
Montrusco Bolton has been applying filters to its investable universe since 2004. As such, we exclude from our investable universe companies that generate revenue from the production and distribution of adult entertainment & gambling, tobacco & alcohol and weapons and/or their essential components. As well as companies that are located in Major Sanctioned Countries. More recently, we have added a positive filter for green bonds in our fixed income portfolios.
Our Proxy Voting Policy approach is robust.
Our objective in proxy voting is to support proposals and director nominees that, in our view, maximize the value of our clients’ investments over the long term. While our goal is simple, the proposals we receive are varied and frequently complex.
As such, the Proxy Voting Policy we adopted provides a framework for assessing each proposal based on the principal of promoting sound corporate governance in a manner that is proactive, constructive and aligned with shareholder rights. Our service provider applies our voting guidelines to the voting ballots and shareholder proposals are voted independently by our teams resulting in greater support for proposals related with environmental and social factors. We’ve included voting statistics for the most recent calendar year here.
We are constantly engaged with the companies we invest in.
We believe that an active ownership approach is beneficial for both the companies we invest in and our clients’ investment portfolios. Our investment teams work in close collaboration with the management teams of the companies we invest in to identify potential areas of risk in terms of ESG issues with the objective of reducing the non-financial risks to which investment strategies are exposed.
We focus on climate risk management.
Our investment teams consider the long-term risks associated with a transition from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy sources. As such, we track the carbon risks of our investment strategies as part of our climate risk management process.
We are dedicated to promoting Diversity & Inclusion within our teams.
In September 2020, we signed the Canadian Investor Statement on Diversity & Inclusion, an initiative of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA). Signatories of the statement acknowledge the existence of systemic racism and acknowledge the existence of inequities and discrimination based on factors including, but not limited to, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, culture and socio-economic status.
We collaborate with external specialists.
We use the services of external specialists to help us carry out all of our Responsible Investment efforts. Sustainalytics is our primary source for ESG research and analysis as well as portfolio analytics tools. We also use Morningstar Direct, which integrates Sustainalytics’ data, for ESG screening and monitoring. We use the services of ISS for proxy voting as well as research and analysis of company specific ESG factors. In addition, we collaborate with SHARE for their consulting services.