Our investment professionals share and challenge each other’s views, creating a diverse marketplace of ideas for the Wellington Blog.
I’ve always liked this quote from the movie The Incredibles and finally have a work-related context in which to use it. From an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment standpoint, its logical extension is: “When everyone’s super, no one will be. And valuations of similar companies should converge.”
What this means is that, as ESG issues become more mainstream across industries, the “uniqueness” that differentiates individual companies may begin to dim over time, which could result in more uniformity among companies in the eyes of shareholders, customers, and…
How to incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) research and ratings into fundamental security analysis can be a vexing question for investors. The connection of ESG issues to equity returns isn’t always clear and disconnects can persist for companies that screen well on fundamentals but poorly on ESG. As ESG-focused investors with extensive fundamental investing experience, here are some ways we help our colleagues think about applying ESG to their investment process.
Look for red flags. I see ESG as a cost-of-equity scaler. The more material ESG red flags there are, the more concerns the market may have about a company’s financial risks. These concerns can reduce the likelihood for strong fundamental performance to translate reliably into strong share-price performance over the long term. Conversely, the more a company’s ESG profile improves and concerns abate, the more the stock’s…
Earlier this summer, I virtually participated in an institutional conference with about 100 other asset managers and prominent asset owners from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. It was well worth my time. Here are my main takeaways, along with some personal observations on the post-COVID-19 industry landscape.
1. Economic assumptions and forecasts were more dire than I’ve seen internally. While Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to reach pre-COVID levels this year, the US may not get there until mid-2021 and likely only on the strength of “50% of the economy in steep recovery,” according to one conference participant. The other half of the US economy may..
In our view, engagement with portfolio companies can enhance positive social and environmental impact and create lasting value for shareholders. We see material environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues as strategic business issues that can affect a company’s financial performance, competitiveness, and sustainability. The better impact investors understand material ESG issues, the more informed their investment decisions.
We believe in taking a hands-on approach to engagement, meeting in person with boards and management teams, writing letters, or hosting calls multiple times each year. Further, we think productive engagements should aim for…
We believe good corporate stewardship and positive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) behavior can help create business resiliency, enhance competitive advantages, and sustain economic growth. Through this lens, climate change is a growing point of friction. Can carbon-intensive companies that are otherwise models of stewardship — with quality management teams that consider all stakeholders, track records of capital allocation that add long-term value, and engaged independent boards — measure up for portfolios like ours, which aim to balance financial returns and responsibility? Increasingly, our answer is no. If a business is categorically negative for the environment (E), it is difficult for positive S and G behaviors to outweigh the growing financial challenges and other risks to the company.
Central to our investment philosophy is belief in a flywheel effect: Companies that reinvest returns to improve competitive position and strengthen ties to key stakeholders may ultimately…
When market participants lack, discount, or ignore relevant data, the resulting information gaps create asset mispricing that active managers may exploit to generate alpha for clients. We believe sustainable investing is a particularly inefficient market segment, and in a recent series, we address several key inefficiencies and explain how we believe investors can take advantage of them. First up:
Over the past 40 years, the average equity holding period has declined from three years to less than one (Figure 1). While many market participants focus on quarterly earnings guidance, profit margins, or growth rates, sustainable investors can explore longer-term, sustainable growth opportunities.
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