Active stewardship of our investments reflects our focus on fundamentals and with a long-term horizon. We regularly appraise the sustainability of the companies and countries we invest in through our proprietary in-house research and engagement with a range of stakeholders. We rely on our proprietary research but are actively augmenting with widely accepted third-party research including MSCI, Sustainalytics, etc. In 2019 we engaged with more than 400 companies specifically on ESG topics - not to mention the number of times ESG topics came up in regular ongoing meetings between our investment professionals and management. Ongoing conversations with company decision-makers is an important part of active stewardship. This is in addition to the over 12,000 face-to-face meetings held by investment professionals as part of the fundamental investment research. We encourage companies to adopt best practices in key areas, such as board diversity, as a means for greater inclusion of different perspectives. We believe engagement, not exclusion, is a more effective path toward positive impact.
We believe ESG impacts the long-term outcomes of the companies and countries we invest in. Although we have been discreet about engagement issues in the past, we are becoming more vocal in expressing our views on active stewardship, which is at the heart of our culture. We use our voice as investors to contribute to setting high standards of industry practice.
Engagement with companies, regulators, politicians, other government and municipal agents is a natural and essential element of our investment process. Analysts and portfolio managers engage directly with market participants, meeting regularly with senior individuals including company management, board members and policy makers. We engage these individuals across a wide range of topics including ESG issues where relevant. Our primary concern when engaging either with corporate management or government representatives is always around our duty to our clients and to act in our clients best long-term financial interests.
Our on-the-ground, globally integrated research approach is the basis for identifying long-term investment opportunities. We commit substantial resources to global research. The strong, long-term relationships our investment professionals develop with a company board and management enable us to maintain an active approach to stewardship of the companies in which we invest on behalf of clients.
Where we identify issues that we believe will have material, long-term impacts to shareholder value, we will engage with companies on these. How management responds about a particular issue demonstrates their understanding of the matter and the steps they take to address it and can provide a useful input in assessing the quality of management. This, in turn, is a key factor in our decision-making regarding investment in a company. Engagement and stewardship often takes place over several years and may include goals, targets and outcomes which can often change over time. Outcome of the engagement could be slow as companies investigate issues flagged or they seek to change corporate culture. Strategic and governance related issues, including those related to long-term environmental or social issues, are not static; they can range from being an isolated catastrophic event to a series of short-term seemingly innocuous events that turn out to be extremely complex and have long-term implications.