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Alliance Bernstein

PRI reporting framework 2019

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Engagement

LEA 02. Reasoning for interaction on ESG issues

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

Type of engagement

Reason for interaction

Individual / Internal staff engagements
Collaborative engagements
Service provider engagements

02.4. Additional information. [Optional]

A key method in which we implement our "Integration" of ESG issues is through pro-active ownership. We take a three-pronged approach to active ownership: 1) We directly engage with issuers as part of our research/investment process, and 2) we utilize an engagement framework to assist us in identifying companies with whom we should engage on ESG issues, and 3) we selectively engage as part of our proxy voting process. These approaches are often used in a coordinated manner for particular investments. 


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 engagements.

Indicate the criteria used to identify and prioritise engagements for each type of engagement.
Type of engagement
Criteria used to identify/prioritise engagements
Individual / Internal engagements

Internal / Individual engagements

Collaborative engagements

Collaborative engagements

specify

          Consultation with RI related organisations.
        

03.3. Additional information. [Optional]

Engagement is an important component of our approach to active ownership and a part of our standard investment research process. In addition, we conduct engagements focused on ESG and proxy issues. In late 2015, we began development of an engagement framework to determine priorities while at the same time providing flexibility to address ad hoc issues appropriately. The framework has both quantitative and qualitative inputs. We referenced it for engagements in 2016, and refined it in practice. We published a formal engagement policy in 2017. It includes a more structured engagement framework for identifying and prioritizing engagement. It is based on quantitative metrics, such as, but not limited to, position size, and qualitative ESG issues as well as our proxy voting history. 


LEA 04. Objectives for engagement activities

New selection options have been added to this indicator. Please review your prefilled responses carefully.
Indicate whether you define specific objectives for your organisation’s engagement activities.
Individual / Internal engagements
Collaborative engagements

04.2. Additional information. [Optional]

AB views active long-only investor engagement as a key component of our investing tool kit.  Our investment teams engage with company management teams on issues related to strategy and capital allocation almost every day. We've used our voice to suggest that companies divest businesses that dilute their focus, refresh an entrenched board, rein in overly generous compensation packages, create environmentally and socially responsible supply chains and replace underperforming members of management teams. 


LEA 05. Process for identifying and prioritising collaborative engagement

Indicate if you monitor and/or review engagement outcomes.
Individual / Internal engagements
Collaborative engagements
Indicate if you do any of the following to monitor and review the progress of engagement activities.
Individual / Internal staff engagements
          As part of our engagement framework, we review previous engagements as well as our proxy voting history.
        
Collaborative engagements

05.3. Additional information [Optional]

In 2018 we engaged three issuers alongside three other shareholders and asset owners on ESG topics. Company representatives included corporate secretaries, ESG heads and subject matter experts, and shareholder representatives included governance heads and ESG analysts. These conversations were led by AB in each instance and topics included human capital management, executive and employee compensation, climate risk, and board oversight. 


LEA 06. Role in engagement process

06.1. Indicate whether your organisation has an escalation strategy when engagements are unsuccessful.

06.2. Indicate the escalation strategies used at your organisation following unsuccessful engagements.

06.3. Additional information. [Optional]


LEA 07. Share insights from engagements with internal/external managers

07.1. Indicate whether insights gained from your organisation's engagements are shared with investment decision-makers.

Type of engagement

Insights shared

Individual / Internal staff engagements

Collaborative engagements

07.2. Indicate the practices used to ensure information and insights collected through engagements are shared with investment decision-makers.

07.3. Indicate whether insights gained from your organisation’s engagements are shared with your clients/beneficiaries.

Type of engagement

Insights shared

Individual/Internal staff engagements

Collaborative engagements

07.4. Additional information. [Optional]

As noted above, insights garnered from our engagements with issuers are a key component of, and sometimes even a material aspect of, our analysts’ research recommendations and investment theses on an issuer. Such insights are discussed with our portfolio management teams and directors of research in regular research review meetings, and, depending on the item, may certainly influence our ultimate investment decision on the issuer. On a case-by-case basis, we disclose our engagement insights with clients. 


LEA 08. Tracking number of engagements

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

Type of engagement
Tracking engagements

Individual / Internal staff engagements

Collaborative engagements

08.2. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]

We track company meetings in our global company calendar. This includes the majority of our company engagements held at our offices. It does not track the specific meeting agenda or items discussed, such as ESG topics.

In 2013, we introduced an engagement database to capture specific ESG-related engagements and ESG integration examples. Given the volume of our analysts’ interactions with companies, and the wide variety and materiality of ESG issues they discuss, we do not capture every single discussion. Instead, we focus on the most significant engagements. In addition, our RI team tracks proxy related engagements. 


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