Our research analysts evaluate a wide range of investment criteria to assess the quality of an issuer, including potential ESG-related risks and opportunities that could impact decisions regarding investment selection. Specifially, the analysts strive to develop a thorough understanding of an issuer's management strength and strategy, governance, and use of human and natural resources, as well as regulatory and political risks. These factors are critical to evaluating the long-term sustainability of an issuer, its profitability, and, ultimately its expected contribution to client portfolios.
In 2016, our efforts were focused on increasing awareness among our investment professionals that the risks associated with ESG issues were included within the fundamental research and risk analysis conducted by them, without specifically identiyfing those risks as related to E, S and G matters. This year, a major objective of the training described above was to emphasize to the investment professionals the importance of identifying and focusing specifically on ESG risks in order to take them into consideration in the management of their investment portfolios. Feedback indicates that, as a result of the training, ESG matters figure more prominently in determining the desirability and suitability of investments.