The Investment Stewardship Committee oversees all activities related to proxy voting and the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations in the management of client portfolios, and the ESG Research Team reports to the Investment Stewardship Committee quarterly regarding the firm’s proxy voting activities. The committee includes senior-level and experienced professionals from portfolio management, investment research, relationship management, and legal and compliance globally.
Our ESG Research team helps our portfolio managers and analysts gather deeper intelligence on ESG topics and integrate these considerations into the investment process. We believe that a holistic understanding of how companies deploy capital - financial, physical, and human - is helpful in framing an investment thesis, and examining ESG issues gives us a more complete picture. Our ESG analysts are responsible for conducting in-depth analysis of the ESG factors most relevant to the sectors within their coverage area. They are also responsible for coordinating the proxy voting and ESG engagement strategies for the companies in their sectors with equity and fixed income analysts and portfolio managers. Our ESG team works closely with investment teams to incorporate our research into the investment process - regularly conducting in-depth portfolio reviews with investment teams to discuss holdings with the greatest ESG risks and strengths.
Each of our portfolio managers and investment teams develops their own investment approach whereby ESG considerations are integrated into their research and decision-making processes to the extent that they believe these issues may affect the long-term success of a company and investment returns. This can manifest itself within the investment thesis or portfolio weighting for a particular security, as well as within our proxy voting and company engagement efforts.
In 2018, Wellington appointed a Director of Sustainable Investment, Wendy Cromwell. Wendy brings integrated leadership, creativity and entrepreneurialism to the firm’s sustainable investment efforts. Wendy is a member of the Investment Research Leadership Team, working closely with Carolina San Martin, Director of ESG Research, and Chris Goolgasian, Director of Climate Research. Wendy collaborates across all the investment groups and teams to continue to advance and deepen our investment practices, capabilities and strategies in sustainable investing. She does this through regular, one-on-one dialogue with portfolio managers, and she also serves as a member of the Investment Stewardship Committee. Wendy continues to represent the firm in her capacity as Vice Chair, which we believe fits nicely with her responsibilities to represent the investment platform. As vice chair, Wendy is a senior member of the firm’s management team and acts as an aide to the chairman and CEO with respect to external affairs of the organization, with a focus on representing our firm globally with clients, prospects, and industry groups.
The position of Director of Climate Research was also formalized in conjunction with Wellington’s collaborative initiative with Woods Hole Research Center. Under the leadership of Chris Goolgasian, the first stage of the project is moving swiftly and generating interest from internal investors and clients. Chris plays a critical role in aligning the WHRC and WMC resources to ensure the initiative generates investable insights that are shared broadly with analysts and portfolio managers.