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Responsible investment is an investment approach that incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the investment decision-making process. This is a method that can be applied across all asset classes and investment styles.
We believe that ESG issues can materially impact the value of the assets we manage, and that including these factors in our investment analysis can help us to better manage and avoid potential ESG-related risks that may detract from the value of an asset. Such events may be the result of poor environmental and labour practices, or because of poor corporate governance.
Looking at ESG factors also helps us to identify investment opportunities, and is a way for our customers to benefit from the growing sustainability trend, which is changing the competitive landscape across all industries and sectors.
Companies that are able to respond to this trend and innovate early will reap the benefits of stronger growth prospects, enhanced operating efficiencies, stronger social licence to operate, enhanced staff retention, lower cost of capital and, ultimately, stronger and longer competitive advantage.
So, as we are the custodian of our customers’ long-term savings and their beneficiaries’ futures’, applying an ESG lens to our investment process makes sound business sense, and, because where we invest today can impact the quality of the world tomorrow, it is also the right thing to do.
Guided by our Proxy Voting Policy, proxy voting is a way for us to vote in favour of or against company resolutions tabled by our investee companies at annual general or ad hoc meetings. This is a proactive way for us to encourage best practice when it comes to corporate governance in respect of issues such as executive remuneration and Board composition; as well as operational aspect of a business, such as environmental and labour policies. In this way we are active shareholders on behalf of our clients.
In the interests of transparency, you can download our proxy voting record for 2018 here.
Old Mutual plc is a signatory of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which is an international network of investors all of who are committed to applying six principles to their investment and ownership decisions.
Similarly, Old Mutual Zimbabwe is committed to applying these principles in our investment and ownership practices, in a way that is consistent with Old Mutual's Responsible Investment Standard, which forms part of the Responsible Business Policy.
In addition, we work closely with our South African and international responsible investment colleagues via the Old Mutual Africa and the broader Old Mutual Responsible Investment committees, both of which meet quarterly.