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George & Bell Consulting

Service Providers Framework 2020

You are in Strategy and Governance » Policy on ESG beliefs

Policy on ESG beliefs

SG 01. Responsible investment policy

01.1. Describe how your organisation’s philosophy incorporates environmental, social and governance factors, and the link to your business offerings.

At George & Bell our Socially Responsible Consulting (SRC) means that our advice and technical support is locally sourced, benefiting clients and society in general. We are opposed to offshoring and outsourcing for a number of reasons:

-Offshoring and outsourcing impairs quality and accuracy of work. 
-Offshoring and outsourcing don’t save clients’ money. 
-Offshoring and outsourcing hollow out the next generation of critical thinkers. 

We are committed to running our business in a more socially responsible way:

-We will never offshore any tasks.
-We will not outsource tasks to convenient locations.  We will hire analytical staff proportionate to the work in the geographies where we do business.
-We are an equal-opportunity employer and treat employees fairly and with respect. We will help to build the next generation of critical thinkers in the pension, investment and benefits fields in Western Canada.

Because of our firm’s model and SRC commitments, working with George & Bell Consulting will:

-Yield higher quality work to clients;
-Be less expensive for clients; and
-Train our next generation of critical thinkers on pensions, benefits and investments.

01.2. Indicate whether you have policies that formalise the incorporation of your ESG beliefs in your business offerings.

01.3. Indicate the components/types of your internal policy and provide the URL and/or an attachment of the document/s if they are publicly available.

Policy components/types

Public availability

01.4. Indicate how these are put into practice internally across the organisation.

01.5. Additional information [OPTIONAL]


SG 02. Norms used to develop policies

02.1. Indicate what frameworks and guidelines you have used to develop your organisation’s policies. Tick all that apply.

02.2. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 03. Policy offerings to clients

03.1. Indicate whether you offer standard, off the shelf, policies to clients as part of your product offerings, and/or whether you create tailored versions for individual clients.

Off the shelf
Tailored
Asset class-specific RI guidelines
Sector-specific RI guidelines
Screening/exclusions policy
Engagement policy
(Proxy) voting policy
RI guidelines set out within the Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
RI guidelines set out in a freestanding RI policy
Multi-year RI implementation project plan
Conflict of interest management policy
Stockbroker allocation policy
Securities lending policy
Other, please specify (1)
Other, please specify (2)
Other, please specify (3)
None of the above

03.2. Provide a brief description of the key elements, any variations, or exceptions applying to these policies.

Education sessions and discussions are held with clients prior to creating policies to determine the key considerations that they wish to address. These discussions include an assessment of their current beliefs towards ESG factors. The key ESG and RI considerations are then incorporated into the policies and reviewed periodically.

 

 

03.3. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 04. ESG/RI in business offerings

04.1. Briefly describe how you include ESG/RI factors as part of your business offerings.

Business area

Investment Consultancy

How you include ESG/RI factors

We adhere to the six Principles for Responsible Investment when providing advisory services to clients. ESG factors are considered througout the investment process, including during asset mix reviews, manager selection, and portfolio monitoring.

04.2. Indicate the roles in your organisation, and indicate for each whether they have oversight and/or implementation responsibilities for ESG/RI within the organisation.

Roles present in your organisation
Oversight/accountability for ESG/RI
Implementation of ESG/RI
Board
Directors
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Other chief-level staff

Please specify

          Partners
        

Please specify

          Partners
        
Other heads of department
Dedicated ESG/RI staff
Other role, specify (1)

Please specify

          Consultants
        

Please specify

          Consultants
        
Other role, specify (2)
Other role, specify (3)
None of the above

04.3. Indicate how you ensure ESG/RI expertise for the roles where there are RI oversight/accountability or implementation responsibilities.

04.4. Indicate whether your organisation has any ESG/RI linked incentives for its employees.

04.7. Additional information [OPTIONAL]


SG 05. Outsourcing of services

05.1. Indicate whether you outsource some of your services. Report percentage of services outsourced as percentage for that specific business area.

Business area

SG 06. Providing training/education

06.1. Indicate whether you provide training/educational services on ESG/RI. Tick all that apply.

06.2. Describe the main components of your training/educational services on ESG/RI and any variations depending on the group you provide training/education to.

We primarily provide ESG education to the Boards, Committees and stakeholders of pension plans, indigenous groups, foundations, and other institutional investors. Topics range from high-level overviews of ESG to specific ESG topics that are tailored to the needs of each group. 

06.3. Describe whether these training/educational services include any commercial elements.

          Educational services may be provided directly to clients or to a broader audience (e.g. at a conference).
        

06.4. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 07. Applying, advancing and promoting the PRI principles

07.1. Describe how your organisation applies, advances and promotes the PRI Principles.

The following core investment beliefs guide our sustainable investing efforts:

-We believe that investors should include environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies in their investment policies.
-We believe that the analysis of ESG factors in the selection of asset classes, managers and securities will improve the risk/return profile of portfolios.
-Consistent with the Principles for Responsible Investment, we believe that an economically efficient, sustainable global financial system is a necessity for long-term value creation.

In recognition of the above, we are committed to incorporating ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes. Some of our initiatives include:

-Incorporating detailed ESG criteria into our evaluation of potential investment managers and strategies;
-Engaging with asset owners and service providers regarding their ESG practices;
-Holding regular team meetings to discuss recent developments and trends as it relates to sustainability;
-Participating in various industry and client events where we have an opportunity to promote sustainable investing practices to a broad audience; and
-Our local community involvement where, for example, we attend community meetings and participate in the cultural events of indigenous groups.

07.2. Highlight whether there are any ways that your organisation would like to engage further with the PRI. [OPTIONAL]


SG 08. Actions taken to promote responsible investment

08.1. Indicate which of the following actions your organisation has taken to promote responsible investments during the reporting year, independently of collaborative initiatives.

08.2. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 09. Long term trends

09.1. Indicate which of the following long-term trends are addressed in your product outputs.

09.2. Explain how this long-term trend affects your product outputs.

Changing demographics are primarily incorporated when developing our long-term capital market risk and return expectations. Examples of specific changes incorporated into our assumptions include the increasing rise of globalization, expected decline in real earnings growth rates, importance of sustainability, and increased need for replacement infrastructure.

09.2. Explain how this long-term trend affects your product outputs.

Many of our clients have policy restrictions on fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. We have conducted manager searches with fossil-free options. In addition, we actively promote investment in renewable energy and green assets.

09.2. Explain how this long-term trend affects your product outputs.

This is reviewed during our manager selection and monitoring process where we evaluate managers based on their ability to consider technology developments during their investment selection process. 


SG 10. Interaction with asset owners

10.1. Indicate whether you interact with asset owner clients.

10.2. Indicate the typical frequency and type of interactions with your asset owner clients.

Type of interaction

Frequency

Frequency

Frequency

Frequency

Frequency

10.3. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 11. Aligning approach with investor goals

11.1. Describe how you typically align your organisation’s philosophy and approach to ESG/RI with your investor clients’ goals.

There are two main areas in which we align our philosophy with our investor clients' goals:

1. Generating superior risk-adjusted returns: We select managers that demonstrate value-add through their ESG investment process and monitor their risk-taking behaviour (portfolio compliance, tracking error, etc.).

2. Strenghtening local economy: we strive to build a strong local economy by not outsourcing jobs overseas and creating jobs locally by being an independent, locally-owned consulting firm. By doing our part to build a resilient local economy, collectively, it should result in a sustainable global economy which is connected to the financial market.

 

11.2. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 12. ESG recommendations not aligned with investor goals

12.1. Describe what steps you take, if any, when your ESG recommendations are not in line with your investor clients’ goals.

We provide additional education to clients to ensure that they are fully aware of the implications of their decisions.

12.2. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


SG 13. Seeking feedback from clients

13.1. Indicate whether you seek feedback from clients on your RI/ESG services and product offerings

13.2. Describe how you use this feedback in your RI/ESG services and product offerings.

We engage in active dialogue with clients on our RI/ESG and product offerings and receive feedback in the process. We use this feedback when determining future staffing requirements and staff development planning (i.e. educating/training staff on ESG).


SG 14. Managing conflicts of interest

14.1. Indicate whether your organisation has a policy for managing potential conflicts of interest.

14.2. Describe how you manage potential conflicts of interest.

We always put our clients interest ahead of ours.  If there is a perceived conflict of interest, we have a discussion with the client to resolve the conflict.  All employees in the Investment Consulting practice are also required to follow the applicable policies of the CFA Institute.  Finally, all of our clients' investment policies have explicit conflics of interest policies which we must adhere to.

14.3. Describe how you ensure that company employees do not derive any personal gain from the use of information collected during your work process.

Employees are required to disclose any conflict-causing activities outside of work. 

14.4. Additional information. [OPTIONAL]


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