Direct engagement with company management on a range of issues, including strategy, financial performance and risk, capital structure, and ESG considerations, is a core part of our investment process. A substantial portion of our company research is informed by direct, persistent contact with company management and boards of directors, both in our offices and through on-site company visits. Portfolio managers, industry analysts, and ESG analysts all take part in, and have a shared responsibility for, our ongoing dialogue with investee companies, as well as suppliers, customers, and competitors. Investors host more than 10,000 company meetings around the world each year. Maintaining this ongoing dialogue is central to how we implement our stewardship responsibilities and informs the investment decisions we make on behalf of our clients.
Given that the ESG Research team conducts portfolio reviews with both equity and fixed income portfolio managers, both can influence the team’s engagement prioritization and proactive dialogue with companies. Our engagement efforts cover both equity and fixed income, whether or not we currently hold the equity and debt of a given company. We also engage with companies that issue only debt. All holders, both equity and debt, are invited to attend engagements through a central investor calendar, and the ESG Research team shares information from these engagements with all investors using a central collaboration platform. During these engagements, certain issues may arise that are less relevant to debt holders, such as shareholder rights or other issues in the context of proxy voting at the annual general meeting. Nonetheless, we believe that the investment dialogue is enriched by sharing a variety of perspectives on the most material issues for a company. For example, if a company is not receptive to shareholder feedback, this could be a negative signal for debt holders as well.
Given our significant scale in the mortgage-backed security space, we have the opportunity to provide our input to US government agencies regarding mortgage-backed security programs. Our mortgage investment team meets with representatives of mortgage financing agencies as part of our ongoing research and due diligence.