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How ESG Considerations Can Drive Voting at the Board Level

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The Council of Institutional Investor’s spring conference for 2018 – held this week in Washington D.C. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel – was packed with member-hosted panels, where nearly 400 of the top investment professional, regulators, and corporate governance experts gathered together to share their insights and engage in forward-looking discussions on how to drive a multi-stakeholder approach to responsible investment over the long-term.

Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI) had the opportunity to attend several breakout sessions, including one presented by Maryland-based Institutional Shareholder Services that sought to address one of the most pressing challenges facing institutional investors today: How can environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria help drive voting at the board level? Moderated by Georgina Marshall, Head of Global Research at ISS, panelists provided a diverse array of perspectives on how to harness ESG considerations as an effective decision-making tool.

Player-Coach Model

For Bonnie Saynay, Global Head of Responsible Investments at Invesco, fostering an environment conducive to communication with investment teams using a “player-coach” model is critical. Moreover, Saynay warned investors of thinking too broadly on ESG considerations, and to instead focus in on the criteria that is most important to them as an organization, and to then tailor their stewardship practices to match those priorities: “If everything is important, nothing is important,” she said.

Clare Payne, head of corporate governance for North America at Legal & General Investment Management, highlighted the importance of procuring the latest ranking data from a number of different providers, as well as how to develop one’s own internal system for scoring so as to cut through the clutter and provide a contextualized framework for making investment decisions on your own terms.

Remuneration is the name of the game for Robbie Miles, Vice President and ESG analyst at Allianz Global Investors. Amid the ever broadening scope of influence that responsible investment commands, Miles urged attendees to work with their managers on mandates that link compensation to the long-term performance of the fund, as well as long-term holding periods.

Wrapping up the panel was Stu Dalheim, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy at Calvert Research Management, advocated for diversity at the board level across a number of different metrics – including ethnicity, gender, and professional backgrounds – in order to reflect the reality of their client base, as well as provide an apparatus for robust debate and adaptation in an ever-changing business environment.

SWFI First Read, June 21, 2018

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PSP Investments Nears Deal on Azelis

PSP Investments and EQT Partners (through fund EQT VIII) are in exclusive talks to acquire Belgium-based Azelis S.A. from funds managed by Apax Partners. Formed in 2001, Azelis is a specialty chemicals and food ingredients distributor. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

Oxford Properties Wins Rights on Barangaroo Office Development

Melbourne-based Grocon Pty Ltd selected Oxford Properties, the real estate unit of OMERS, as a preferred partner for it’s a A$ 2 billion, 5.2-hectare Barangaroo Central project development. This is an office tower development. Oxford Properties essentially won the rights toward the project (rumored at a price of A$ 100 million), freeing the developer from a high-cost finance deal with Maxcap, a lender.

Investment Management Corporation of Ontario Selects Jean Michel as CIO

The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario named Jean Michel as chief investment officer. This role is effective July 3, 2018. Michel was executive vice president, advisory services to depositors and strategic analysis, at Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ).

Wil Warren Named President of Lexington Partners

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Large Public Asset Owners Commit to Goodman Brazil Logistics Partnership

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Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) unveiled plans to commit 500 million BRL (C$ 175 million) in equity for a 20% interest in the newly established Goodman Brazil Logistics Partnership to invest in prime logistics and industrial assets in the key gateway cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Mubadala Supports Two European Aquaculture Transactions

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Mubadala Investment Company is keen on growing exposure to agribusinesses whether in farming or aquaculture. With money from Mubadala and AMERRA Capital Management LLC, Andromeda Group acquired Nireus SA (at 74.34% stake) and Selonda SA at (79.62% stake), two European aquaculture companies that focus on sea bream and sea bass. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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