Outsource? Overlay? Oversight?

Governance Watch from Manifest supports asset owners in their stewardship and ESG responsibilities and has been developed to enable compliance with investment good practice, particularly the Stewardship Code and Principles of Responsible Investment.

ESG – a fiduciary responsibility

The Stewardship Code now adds more detail than previously required on the question of the use of shareholder rights. It consists of a number of principles, including monitoring investee companies, establishing guidelines on when and how issues may be escalated and having a policy on voting and disclosure. Each Principle contains guidance as to what specific activities might be envisaged in order to make the principle more explicit.

The Stewardship Code is intended to enable investors to better understand their roles as active owners in the companies in which they invest. Where investment management is outsourced, a critical part of the fiduciary responsibility of the asset owner is therefore to understand and hold their fund managers to account for their active ownership work. Furthermore, the Stewardship Code puts the ball firmly in the court of pension fund trustees:

“The responsibility for monitoring company performance does not rest with fund managers alone. Pension fund trustees and other owners can do so either directly or indirectly through the mandates given to fund managers. Their actions can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of engagement with UK companies.”

Stewardship Code Compliance Made Easy

Manifest is committed to providing independent, timely and thorough analysis of governance issues for concerned investors. Manifest’s governance experts can ensure that funds can stay on top of things in a time and cost-effective way. Some of the world’s largest funds already rely on Manifest to implement their governance policy so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.

What does Governance Watch Offer?

Governance Watch eliminates costly, time-consuming administration by providing trustees with a succinct executive summary of the action items relevant to the fund. Governance Watch not only monitors governance and voting policy issues but provides timely alerts to important up-coming events as well as offering the comfort of a thorough audit of policy implementation by the fund manager(s).

Governance Watch meets trustees’ needs in monitoring companies and meetings in their portfolio, as well as making sense of fund manager reporting.

Global Compliance Monitoring and Policy Development

A bespoke governance and voting template is developed based on particular concerns the fund may have. These can include the very latest recommendations from the UK Corporate Governance Code, ISC, ABI and PLSA principles.

Because our analysts perform the most detailed sorting and sifting of complex issues, you will only have to focus on the issues and topics of concern to your fund. For hard pressed fiduciaries this makes significant economic sense compared to the daunting task of reading 40 or more reports each week during the busy ‘peak season’.

Being able to draw upon expert analyses in ‘real time’ enables funds to pro-actively liaise with their fund managers on contentious issues.

Governance Watch gives you:

  • A weekly portfolio analysis of up-coming shareholder meetings. This executive summary report enables at a glance analysis of issues to keep members in tune with issues as they arise. Manifest’s rapid turnaround of analysis allows plenty of time to review events with fund managers before voting. Only the events pertinent to the fund are highlighted saving considerable time and effort; and
  • Weekly portfolio updates;
  • A quarterly portfolio summary analysis of the issues pertinent to your fund so that they can be compared with fund manager reports for any variances; and
  • An annual monitoring meeting to review and refine policy.

Global Vote Audit

Not only is the task of understanding hundreds of meetings without a frame of reference daunting, so also is the task of making sense of the weighty and disparate quarterly fund manager voting reports.

Manifest’s specialist systems help with identifying the contentious meetings and decisions in your portfolio through audit trail and variance analysis.

Manifest’s sophisticated vote management software compares the fund’s voting policy against fund manager voting reports looking for any differences between policy and activity. These variances may well be fully justified, however you will now be in a position to discuss these differences with your fund managers at your regular meetings. In a multi-manager scenario, this type of monitoring will help to eliminate variances in voting activity and create a constructive dialogue with your fund managers about future activity.

Why Manifest?

Manifest ensures that concerned investment fiduciaries can monitor and audit their governance, voting and activism policies quickly, reliably and cost effectively. Manifest has significant operational experience in the governance field having worked with some of the most active and demanding fund managers since 1996.

  • Consistent track record;
  • Knowledge & understanding of pension funds needs;
  • Stable & committed team;
  • Quality-driven, best value service;
  • Independent, UK-owned & managed.
Working as your governance partner, Manifest will ensure that:
  • Your fund is pro-actively updated with governance best practice and key voting issues;
  • Your trustees can keep their knowledge of the issues fully up to date.

Next Steps

Contact us +44 (0)1376 503500 for a no obligation discussion or email info@manifest.info
Last Updated: 16 April 2018

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