BMO fund challenged 20% of company resolutions in 2019

Remuneration and director elections topped areas of concern in 2019


Joe McGrath

The team running BMO’s Responsible Global Equity Strategy voted against portfolio company bosses on around one fifth of all resolutions in 2019, new data shows.

According to its annual ESG Profile and Impact report, BMO Global Asset Management said remuneration and director elections were the most common contentious areas where its team voted against a company proposal.

In the latest update, BMO underscored its commitment to selling holdings in instances where persistent concerns on ESG issues remain and where investee companies fail to respond, adequately, to flagged issues.

The fund, led by portfolio manager Jamie Jenkins, said it had engaged with 76% of the strategy’s portfolio companies during 2019.

It also detailed how the fund’s exposures aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Work and Economic Growth (SDG8) the leading portfolio exposure over the past year, aligned with 29% of the strategy’s holdings. SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being) was aligned with 19% of portfolio holdings.

“We stand together at the start of a vital decade,” Jenkins explained. “With the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) five years ago, the world set itself some ambitious goals to achieve by 2030.

“We are also going to have to learn to live with elevated geopolitical tension created by Sino-US rivalries, we are grappling with ambitious climate change objectives and we are conscious of multiple social inequalities that the past few decades have exacerbated.”

The BMO fund manager added that the Covid-19 pandemic had cast a “completely new light” on the range of challenges faced by the global population.

He added: “Nevertheless, we at BMO Global Asset Management are optimistic about the future, and we believe in the ability of society, companies and individuals to come up with sustainable products and solutions to respond to these challenges and create opportunity from adversity.”

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