Stewardship

Through a commitment to responsible stewardship, Evelyn Partners aims to create long-term value for clients while benefiting wider society.

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Our approach to investment stewardship

We are a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and, under our previous brand Smith & Williamson, the UK Stewardship Code. This means we are responsible investors, who seek to invest our client portfolios in businesses that operate in a responsible manner.


Our approach to responsible stewardship involves:

  • Incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, as well as financial issues when building a portfolio
  • Using active ownership, including voting, to encourage firms to improve their ESG reporting and strategic thinking. This ensures all relevant factors are properly considered when assessing risk and reward.

However, we don’t impose our own values on our clients. Clients are free to tilt their portfolios towards their own needs, based on their specific values and objectives.

What does our stewardship mean for you?

We use a range of methods when putting our approach to investment stewardship into action from taking an active part in company votes to engaging with boards or committing to Corporate Social Responsibility. When investing in third-party funds, we choose those with the same commitment and approach to stewardship as Evelyn Partners.

Voting

We routinely vote on all material shareholdings. We work with proxy voting adviser Glass Lewis to inform our decision-making, which we adapt to suit our own policies and requirements. Our voting policy and record are available at the bottom of this page.

Company engagement

We aim to engage with companies in the following ways:

  • Clear communication. With any shareholder resolution where we do not vote with the Board’s recommendation, we write to the Chair to explain our rationale
  • Regular meetings. With over 500 meetings with companies and funds every year, we can follow up on areas of potential concern
  • Stewardship codes. We are signatories to the UN PRI and, under our previous Smith & Williamson brand, the UK Stewardship Code
  • Climate collaboration. We are members of the Climate Action 100+ investor group. This is a collaborative engagement initiative to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters act on climate change
  • Industry cooperation. We are a member of the Investor Forum, an independent, not-for-profit organisation comprising leading asset managers and owners of the UK equity market. Its purpose is to position stewardship at the heart of investment decision-making
  • Tackling modern slavery. We are a member of the Find it, Fix it, Prevent it engagement group set up to identify and stamp out modern slavery in UK companies and their supply chains. This has a particular focus on the hospitality and building sectors, where modern slavery is most prevalent

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Our culture has always reflected our core values of putting our clients first and delivering the right solutions. But our ongoing mission is to keep corporate responsibility at the heart of our growing business. We aim to manage the impact of our business on our clients, staff, suppliers, communities and the environment.

To achieve this, we look for ways where we can make a positive influence in the communities where we work. We also seek to minimise our environmental footprint and provide a professional and supportive workplace for our colleagues, all of which helps us to deliver the best possible service to our clients.

Stewardship Code 2020 Report

Under our former brand Smith & Williamson, we are signatories to the UK Stewardship Code.

Read the latest Stewardship Code report

Responsible Investment Policy

Evelyn Partners is committed to generating superior risk-adjusted returns for clients by investing in companies that will create long-term value for all stakeholders.

See our Responsible Investment Policy

Evelyn Partners Voting Policy

As part of our commitment to responsible investing, we began proxy voting in November 2018 (using Glass Lewis as our proxy provider).

View our voting policy

Evelyn Partners SRD II Engagement Policy

The revised Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD II) took effect in the UK on 10 June 2019. Firms that provide investment management services to certain types of institutional investors are required to publish a shareholder engagement policy.

See our policy

Proxy Voting Summary Report

We report on our Proxy Voting activities on a quarterly basis as well as annually.

View a copy

United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI)

Evelyn Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. See a full copy of the 2020 Transparency report for our former brand Smith & Williamson.

Download now

Stewardship and Responsible Investing Annual Report

See our 2020 annual report, which was published under our former brand, Smith & Williamson.

View here

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Frequently asked questions about stewardship

What does stewardship mean?

The Financial Reporting Council defines stewardship as the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries, leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, environment and society.

Stewardship gives environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and financial issues equal footing when building a portfolio so investors can be sure they’re investing responsibly as well as profitably.

Why conduct stewardship?

Stewardship encourages communication with wider stakeholders on the issues that matter to investors. Whether it’s voting in a certain manner or sharing information about regulations that could impact ESG goals, clear and direct communication helps shape policies in a way that encourages companies to maximise their long-term value – both monetarily and morally.

What is the UK Stewardship Code?

The UK Stewardship Code 2020 sets high stewardship standards for asset owners and asset managers, as well as for service providers that support them. It’s a voluntary set of principles overseen by the Financial Reporting Council.

The UK Stewardship Code requires signatories to have policies and procedures in place to manage conflicts of interest, have an active voting policy and monitor investee companies.

What does ‘apply and explain’ mean?

‘Apply and explain’ is one of the methods used to report accountability to shareholders or stakeholders. It’s different to ‘apply or explain’, where a company decides to either adhere to a set of guidelines or explain why it didn’t. ‘Apply and explain’ encourages a company to take its own measure of accountability, embrace the changes and even go the extra mile in making positive changes.

What is the PRI?

Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is a United Nations-backed global network of investors working to understand the implications of sustainability in company ownership practices. By signing up to implement the six Principles for Responsible Investment, it’s hoped companies can work towards a more sustainable financial system throughout the world.

What are the six Principles for Responsible Investment?

The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment aim to help companies build ESG issues into their investment practices. They are as follows:

  1. We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes
  2. We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices
  3. We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest
  4. We will promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry
  5. We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the principles
  6. We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles

What is CSR?

CSR stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. It’s a broad philosophy held by companies who want to make a positive impact on the world as well as their bottom line. It deals with practices and policies in areas like global supply chains, employee wellbeing and working with charities.

In ESG terms, what is active ownership?

Active ownership means using voting rights and engagement with investees to influence a company’s decisions, based on their expected environmental, social and governance impact. Opening a constructive dialogue with companies you invest in can help them steer their decision-making into ESG-positive waters. Voting for or against company policies allows investors to take an active interest in improving ESG practices.

The value of investments, and the income from them, may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.