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Universities Superannuation Scheme - USS

PRI reporting framework 2018

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Overview

LEA 01. Description of approach to engagement

New selection options have been added to this indicator. Please review your prefilled responses carefully.

01.1. Indicate whether your organisation has a formal engagement policy.

01.2. Attach or provide a URL to your engagement policy.

01.3. Indicate what your engagement policy covers:

01.4. Provide a brief overview of your organization’s approach to engagement

USS does not have a separate engagement policy. Our approach to engagement is outlined in our Global Stewardship Principles, UK Voting and Engagement Policy and our UK Stewardship Code Statement (the web links to these documents are provided below).  Information on our approach to responsible investment is explained on our web-site.

  • https://www.uss.co.uk/how-uss-invests/responsible-investment

USS was assessed as a Tier 1 (top tier) signatory of the UK Stewardship Code in a review by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) which considered the quality of reporting against the seven principles of the Code. Tier 1 firms "provide a good quality and transparent description of their approach to stewardship and explanations of an alternative approach where necessary". See

  • https://frc.org.uk/investors/uk-stewardship-code/uk-stewardship-code-statements/asset-owners
  • https://www.frc.org.uk/News-and-Events/FRC-Press/Press/2016/November/Tiering-of-signatories-to-the-Stewardship-Code.aspx.

01.6. Additional information [optional]

The scheme first articulated its engagement approach to responsible investment (RI) in 1999. Since 2000, the scheme has employed an in-house responsible investment team (now six in number). This team works alongside the scheme's in-house portfolio managers to practice active stewardship of the scheme's assets, including engagement with companies on environmental, ethical, social and governance (ESG) matters. The scheme's UK Voting and Engagement Policy is regularly updated and was last refreshed in Q1 2017 (see SG6.1). The Global Stewardship Principles were refreshed in Q4 2016 - an extract is copied in LEA 1.5 below.

  • https://www.uss.co.uk/how-uss-invests/responsible-investment/voting
  • https://www.uss.co.uk/~/media/document-
  • libraries/uss/investments/riactivities/statementonukstewardshipcode.pdf
  • https://www.uss.co.uk/~/media/document-
  • libraries/uss/investments/riactivities/ussglobalstewardshipprinciplesoct2015.pdf
  • https://www.uss.co.uk/~/media/document libraries/uss/investments/riactivities/ukvotingpolicy2017.pdf

LEA 02. Reasoning for interaction on ESG issues

02.1. Indicate the method of engagement, giving reasons for the interaction.

Type of engagement Reason for interaction
Individual/Internal staff engagements
          We also engage with our investee companies to improve our understanding of the challenges that a company faces which helps to inform our investment decisions.
        
Collaborative engagements
Service provider engagements

02.2. Additional information. [Optional]

We engage with companies in our portfolio to get a better understanding of the specific ESG risks they face and to get comfort that these risks are being managed effectively.  We view this as a key part of our fiduciary and stewardship responsibilities. Such engagement also provides data so that we can make better informed investment decisions – i.e. it supports integration. 

We do not usually engage via service providers because we have an in house team that engages with companies in our portfolio.  We consider this approach to be advantageous because the engagement remains aligned with the investment analysis conducted by the internal portfolio manager.  The exception is Governance for Owners Japan Engagement Coalition (JEC).  See section LEA 07.3 for further details.   


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