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Wellington Management Company LLP

PRI reporting framework 2018

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Engagement

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

Engaging with company managements plays a critical role in helping to identify, understand, and appropriately consider investment risks and opportunities. Our firm’s engagement with company management teams depends on the materiality of the issue, the responsiveness exhibited by the company to past communications and our assessment of whether such engagement is in the best interests of our clients. Dialogue can range from an agenda item on a regular investor call, to a focused communication regarding a particular issue. Our engagement activities can include meeting with company boards, speaking to non-executive directors, carrying out proxy voting or participating in stakeholder dialogues. In the event that a company is not responsive to our initial engagement efforts, we will consider: additional meetings with management, meeting with the Chair and other board members, and potentially voting against members of the board in order to escalate our concerns.

01.6. Additional information [optional]


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
Collaborative engagements
          When private engagement proves ineffective, we are willing to collaborate with other investors when such action would be permissible under applicable laws and regulations.
        
Service provider engagements

Please specify why your organisation does not engage via service providers.

Due to our firm’s significant presence and long-term track record in nearly all sectors of the global securities markets, we often have direct access to company management teams. We believe this access is highly valuable, given the number of meetings we conduct, the breadth of our contacts, and the quality of the dialogue. We often prefer to engage privately with our portfolio companies as we have found this encourages openness and a productive engagement dialogue. When private engagement proves ineffective, however, we are willing to collaborate with other investors when such action would be in our clients’ best interests and is permissible under applicable laws and regulations.

02.2. Additional information. [Optional]


Process

Process for engagements run internally

LEA 03. Process for identifying and prioritising engagement activities

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

03.1. Indicate whether your organisation has a formal process for identifying and prioritising engagement activities carried out by internal staff.

03.2. Describe the criteria used to identify and prioritise engagement activities carried out by internal staff.

03.3. Additional information. [Optional]

The prioritization of our engagement activity can come from any part of the ESG Research team’s process – ratings and research, portfolio reviews with portfolio managers, or proxy voting.

As one component of the firm’s research process, companies are assigned an ESG rating using a proprietary, systematic process that uses third-party inputs and considers industry, home market, and company size in defining the peer universe. Each rating reflects a peer-relative assessment, thus comparison versus peers is most meaningful. Importantly, the rating is not a buy or sell signal but rather helps to flag companies and provides a starting point for deeper analysis. Because ESG ratings for a given peer group are assigned based on a normal distribution, the ratings naturally identify positive and negative outliers which may warrant further research and engagement. We may choose to engage with a negative outlier company to ensure that the rating is capturing the company’s full scope of procedures and disclosures, to provide direct feedback to the company on a particular issue, or to check in on the company’s progress since we last spoke. We may choose to engage with a positive outlier to hear about emerging best practices in a particular industry, which helps us provide better feedback to other companies in the sector when we engage on the same topic.

Another source of prioritization comes from the portfolio review process. An ESG analyst performs portfolio reviews with portfolio managers to identify holdings with the greatest ESG risks and opportunities. These conversations often lead the portfolio manager to provide feedback about the companies which s/he would like the ESG Research team to engage with and potentially influence behavior.

In certain instances, the ESG Research team will engage with companies prior to an annual general meeting in the event that the company did not receive strong support from shareholders in the prior year. In particular, the team seeks to understand whether the board has been receptive to shareholder feedback and made substantial changes to improve the proposal.


LEA 04. Objectives for engagement activities

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

04.1. Indicate if you define specific objectives for your engagement activities.

04.2. Indicate if you monitor the actions that companies take during and following your engagements activities carried out by internal staff.

04.3. Indicate if you do any of the following to monitor and evaluate the progress of your engagement activities carried out by internal staff.

04.4. Additional information. [Optional]


General processes for all three groups of engagers

LEA 09. Share insights from engagements with internal/external managers

09.1. Indicate if insights gained from your engagements are shared with your internal or external investment managers.

Type of engagement

Insights shared

Individual/Internal staff engagements

09.2. Additional information. [Optional]

In 2017, the ESG Research team built out a tool that allows the team to better track and communicate engagement activity. This involves tagging the relevant ESG indicators discussed and assessing the company's progress on each indicator. The tool then emails an engagement note directly to portfolio managers and analysts who own or follow the company.

Each company within the ESG Research team’s coverage has a dedicated ESG page on the central investment collaboration platform which shows an explanation of what is driving the company’s ratings, recent company engagements, and proxy voting activity and history. This page also provides a historical view of the company’s rating over time and identifies leaders and laggards based on its relevant peer set.


LEA 10. Tracking number of engagements

10.1. Indicate if you track the number of your engagement activities.

Type of engagement
Tracking engagements

Individual / Internal staff engagements

10.2. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]

The ESG Research team's engagement tracking tool allows for the tracking of all ESG-led engagements. ESG analysts join meetings with companies hosted by equity and credit analysts and portfolio managers, and vice versa. Wellington uses a global investor calendar to log meetings with companies across all investment teams and facilitate collaboration across teams in these meetings.


Outputs and outcomes

LEA 11. Number of companies engaged with, intensity of engagement and effort

11.1. Indicate the amount of your listed equities portfolio with which your organisation engaged during the reporting year.

Number of companies engaged

(avoid double counting, see explanatory notes)

Proportion (to the nearest 5%)
Specify the basis on which this percentage is calculated

Individual / Internal staff engagements

335 Number of companies engaged
5 Proportion (to the nearest 5%)

Specify the basis on which this percentage is calculated

11.2. Indicate the proportion of engagements that involved multiple, substantive and detailed discussions or interactions with a company during the reporting year relating to ESG issue.

Type of engagement

% Comprehensive engagements

 

 

Individual / Internal staff engagements

11.5. Additional information. [Optional]


LEA 12. Engagement methods

12.1. Indicate which of the following your engagement involved.

12.2. Additional information. [Optional]

Our engagement activities can include meeting with company boards, speaking to non-executive directors, carrying out proxy voting or participating in stakeholder dialogues. The ESG Research team typically uses letter-writing to boards when there is a systematic issue we would like to discuss. In 2017, this involved writing to request engagement to understand the board's approach to diversity given the lack of gender diversity on mid- and large-cap companies in the US. In the event that a company is not responsive to our initial engagement efforts, we will consider: additional meetings with management, meeting with the Chair and other board members, and potentially voting against members of the board in order to escalate our concerns.


LEA 13. Companies changing practices / behaviour following engagement

13.1. Indicate whether you track the number of cases during the reporting year in which a company changed its practices, or made a formal commitment to do so, following your organisation’s and/or your service provider's engagement activities.

Do you track number of companies that changed or made a formal commitment to change in the reporting year following your organisation’s and/or your service provider's engagement activities?

13.3. Additional information [Optional].

In 2017, the ESG Research team built out a tool that allows the team to better track and communicate engagement activity. This involves tagging the relevant ESG indicators discussed and assessing the company's progress on each indicator. Improvements since the last engagement can be discerned by changes to the assessment score, as determined by the ESG analyst. The tool then emails an engagement note directly to portfolio managers and analysts who own or follow the company.  

We collect instances where companies have changed or made a formal commitment to changing their practices on an anecdotal basis. Please see the engagement examples section to read about several instances with this type of tangible outcome.


LEA 14. Examples of ESG engagements (Private)


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