Optimum Asset Management (OAM) adopted its Responsible Investment Policy in May 2019. The policy covers our principles and approach to responsible investment, as well as application and accountability. The policy has an impact on internally managed strategies. Its purpose is to define a framework for and formalize our approach to responsible investment. It specifies that OAM has made a commitment to responsible investment by incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into its investment management process.
OAM’s preferred approach to responsible investment is based on the following considerations: shareholder engagement, incorporation of ESG criteria into investment analysis and decision-making processes, and exclusion of specific securities.
Optimum Asset Management is actively committed to maximizing its clients’ long-term returns while protecting their capital. To do so, we apply a high-tech, disciplined management approach based on thorough analysis of securities and issuers, well-defined risk management and sound investment selection.
The passive approach includes:
Exclusion Strategy, with Sector and Norm-based Exclusion Mechanisms
Inclusion Strategy, with Best-in-class and ESG Factors Integration Mechanism
The active approach is based on an engagement strategy, which includes:
Social Dialogue Mechanism
Shareholder Resolution Mechanism
Proxy Voting Mechanism
ESG factors are considered in the overall investment strategy, as are other factors. The ESG Committee is in charge of integrating nonfinancial matters related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the asset management process. As for fixed income investments, the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations are analyzed.
In addition, Optimum Asset Management has established a stringent Code of Ethics and Conduct that places client interests first and to which all employees must adhere. Adherence to the Code is confirmed annually regardless of employees' activities and duties.
Furthermore, ESG scores are integrated in our technological front-office system. The quotes are provided by Groupe Investissement Responsable (GIR). This ESG consulting firm provides scores for issuers. Our technology is designed to leverage ESG factors in our quantitative analyses, allowing our management strategies to adhere to responsible investment principles.
GIR is hired to support our investment team and provides Optimum Asset Management with E, S, G and ESG scores for corporate issuers. The scores are compared to each portfolio's benchmark and reviewed by the ESG Committee to ensure better understanding of the data provided. With regards to actively managed portfolios, the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were integrated, and are now followed.
Lastly, the Proxy Voting Policy (adopted in 2012) considers ESG factors and real economy impact and has a direct impact on the management of listed equity strategies. We use GIR as a proxy-voting entity on behalf of Optimum Asset Management's portfolio managers. As for Canadian equity portfolios, we measure and track their carbon footprint, in order to improve ESG incorporation into our investment decision-making processes.
Optimum Asset Management’s investment policy applies to all portfolios. This policy does not apply to investments in exchange-traded funds (ETFs).