Waverton Investment Management has launched its new Enhanced Responsible Investment Service (ERIS), aimed at those clients who would like an additional ethical, environmental or social overlay enabling them to include or exclude certain themes and product involvement areas in their portfolio to reflect their specific personal values. Whilst the analysis of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is implicit in Waverton’s security selection process and reflected in high ESG quality standards across all client portfolios, the new service adds a further dimension in client-led requirements. It is available either via a model portfolio to those clients with GBP500,000, or via a bespoke service for those with over GBP3 million.
Waverton has developed three positive themes which act as an umbrella for the ERIS criteria and which align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are: protecting the environment, health and wellbeing and positive social practices.
Model Portfolio: positive themes plus ability to exclude fossil fuels, armaments, animal testing, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and adult entertainment.
Bespoke Portfolio: positive themes plus ability to exclude over 20 product involvement/environmental/social areas including nuclear power, palm oil, pesticides, speciality leather and predatory lending.
Waverton offers a range of portfolios including equity, growth, balanced and cautious, across a range of asset classes including direct equities, bonds and investment trusts.
Responsible investment is embedded within Waverton’s investment process and clients increasingly want to ensure this is reflected in their investment portfolios. Jennifer Fisher, Head of Equities, says: “It is our belief that in a world of ongoing change and growing ESG scrutiny, a company will have to operate to high, or improving, ESG standards to sustain a competitive advantage and build a durable business that creates long-term shareholder value.”
Waverton has a highly experienced team of dedicated equity research specialists across all major regions, responsible for providing stock recommendations based on clearly-defined investment criteria. Ideas are primarily generated internally but during its detailed analysis, the research team also uses data provided by external research sources that include two ESG specialist providers. The latter informs rather than drives idea generation and stock selection.
Also integral to Waverton’s approach is active engagement with companies in all sectors (over 1,000 company meetings a year) and voting on all core holdings in partnership with Glass Lewis, the leading provider of independent voting advisory services.
Commenting, William Dinning, Chief Investment Officer, says: “Responsible investment is reflected in all our client portfolios, demonstrated in MSCI’s AA ESG Leader rating for our flagship multi-asset Portfolio Fund.
“In addition to the elevated responsible investment standards offered to all clients, a growing number also wish to reflect their own ethical, social and environmental values in their personal portfolios. We are able to do this through our new Enhanced Responsible Investment Service, led by Mary Haly.”