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Marathon Asset Management LLP

PRI reporting framework 2020

You are in Direct - Listed Equity Active Ownership » 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 an active ownership policy (includes engagement and/or voting).

01.2. Attach or provide a URL to your active ownership policy.

01.3. Indicate what your active engagement policy covers:

General approach to Active Ownership


          Issues a portfolio manager considers material, including ESG.


          Portfolio Managers evaluate ISS voting recommendations. If their vote does not follow ISS advice, they will record reasons.

01.4. Do you outsource any of your active ownership activities to service providers?

01.6. Additional information [optional]

Whilst Marathon is not an activist investor in terms of making outsize bets and then conducting public campaigns for change, our approach has been to meet with companies on a frequent basis over the long holding periods and engage in discussions about decision making. There have been numerous private disagreements over the years and sometimes this has led us to express our concerns to boards. The approach is active in the sense of asking difficult questions rather than presuming that we know better on how a company should be run. Indeed, we have witnessed a number of activist campaigns over the years which, although possibly delivering a short-term benefit to shareholders, have been detrimental to long-term shareholder interests.

In Japan, Marathon has advocated corporate governance reform on a frequent basis and it is our view that the pace of change is now greatly underappreciated by investors. As mentioned above, we have one analyst, Masanago Kono, who joined the firm in 2015 and is based in Tokyo. Masa focuses on corporate governance issues, engaging with senior management of portfolio companies addressing issues such as cash deployment, the separation of Chairman and CEO roles and proxy voting.

Additionally, with regard to proxy voting, portfolio managers at Marathon have always voted their own proxies. Whilst we receive helpful advice from proxy advisory services like ISS, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis utilising the specific knowledge gained over many years. The key for us is that the portfolio manager knows the companies and the individuals involved and is responsible for the investment.