AMX and DWS adopt Minerva’s split voting technology ‘VotePlus’ in upcoming launch

New solution rapidly accelerates sustainable stewardship

Minerva Analytics, Europe’s leading independent proxy voting agency, has embedded its VoteTech in a new, ground-breaking solution designed to help investors better meet their stewardship commitments.

The Asset Management Exchange (AMX), part of the Willis Towers Watson group, and asset manager DWS have today announced that they are to launch a new pooled fund investment solution, the “AMX – Investor Stewardship Service”, in partnership with Minerva Analytics. The service will use Minerva’s VotePlus infrastructure to provide customised split fund voting.

Split fund voting has featured strongly in pensions minister Guy Opperman’s recent push for pension funds to play a greater role in the fight against climate change by leveraging their roles as asset owners.

For several years, pension scheme trustees have been calling for asset managers to find a way of ensuring their voting and engagement actions are aligned with the needs of their clients, regardless of whether the schemes are invested in segregated mandates or pooled funds.

The AMX and DWS launch follows the UK government’s launch in December 2020 of the Taskforce on Pension Scheme Voting Implementation to encourage industry solutions to link investor preferences to corporate voting actions.

VotePlus leverages Minerva’s advanced VoteTech and custom vote policy expertise to create a robust and scalable solution to the problems associated with voting in pooled funds.

Sarah Wilson, Minerva founder and chief executive, said: “Pooled fund index strategies are an extremely cost-effective proposition for long-term investors. For too long, however, that has meant compromising on stewardship and voting issues.

“We’ve always believed that the application of smart technology can offer investors the best of both worlds: cost-effective asset management with active ownership. We are therefore delighted to partner with AMX and DWS on this important and timely initiative.”

VotePlus uses advanced holdings and ownership reconciliation algorithms to connect the underlying investors with their proportionate holdings in a pooled fund. It offers a choice of good practice voting policies including the AMNT Red Lines and the PLSA’s guidelines. VotePlus also provides comprehensive reporting to ensure compliance with the UK Stewardship Code, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, and the new requirements of the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

Commenting on the AMX and DWS fund launch, Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “I strongly hope this prompts other pension scheme trustees to challenge their fund managers about plans to offer this service and drives engagement with other key issues such as how their managers are engaging and voting on pressing issues such as climate change.”

Last Updated: 1 February 2021
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