Multi-manager Structure: As a manager of managers, CBIS hires investment management firms to sub-advise our portfolios. Our actively managed products are typically multi-manager funds, combining two or more sub-advisers to achieve our investment objective. The ability to implement our Catholic Responsible Investments* (CRI) approach and process is crucial in the selection, appointment, and monitoring of all managers.
ESG Integration Strategies with Sub-advisers:
We survey sub-advisers on their ESG/CRI incorporation into investment programs and strategies in order for us to:
- Benchmark their performance on ESG sophistication and expertise;
- Better inform our discussions with our own investors on CRI concerns regarding their fund investments;
- Understand how our sub-advisers might assist us in our screening and corporate engagements on CRI issues;
- Learn from each manager in order to provide feedback in ways that managers can improve their ESG integration frameworks; and
- Improve our RFP and RFI responses.
Additionally, we now seek the following information from sub-advisers for ESG performance reviews:
- A list of ESG leaders and laggards in each fund;
- Examples of engagement that sub-advisers have been involved in with this subset of companies above to understand and improve ESG performance;
- Metrics and analytics as they relate to the climate change risks reflected in the portfolio.
Gathering these insights help us strengthen our partnerships with sub-advisers, improve our ability to respond to investor requests for information about CRI practices at CBIS, and better respond to new business opportunities.
Standalone ESG Performance Meetings with Sub-advisers:
We share our CRI Active Ownership plan with sub-advisers in these meetings, including our focus list of companies and issues covered. We also review sub-advisers' survey results with them, and discuss ESG integration strategies and new sub-adviser ESG-focused initiatives.
Progression of Overseeing Sub-advisers on ESG: In 2016, we began exploring and implementing long-term plans and tools to better educate and influence our external managers on ESG integration. During 2017, in an effort to promote PRI’s 4th Principle, we invited managers to relevant events and conferences, and some of our engagements, to further their knowledge and expertise on ESG implementation. In 2018, we began the process of incorporating ESG discussion and reporting into regularly meetings with our managers.
In 2019, our Catholic Responsible Investments team was fully merged with our Investment Management team, to better focus on ESG integration by ourselves and our sub-advisers and to improve our manager search process in order to incorporate strong ESG manager candidates into ongoing fund manager due diligence, appointment, and selection.
Our History of Responsible Investment Leadership Builds Trust with Sub-advisers on ESG Progress: CBIS has a long-standing leadership role in the area of CRI, which dates back to the inception of our firm in 1981. We believe this commitment helps CBIS to identify risks and market-wide opportunities by incorporating factors of interest and concern to our investors, while also advancing company and industry progress through our active ownership strategies. We have used our long-term leadership history to share our experiences with sub-advisers, and offer assistance in various areas to strengthen the ESG expertise of those managers over time.
*Catholic Responsible Investments is a registered name used to distinguish CBIS' services.