Cantab Asset Management Ltd (‘Cantab’) is a wealth and investment management firm serving private clients, institutions and intermediaries.
Cantab fully supports the principles embodied in the UK Stewardship Code (‘the Code’) which was introduced by, and is overseen by, the Financial Reporting Council.
The Principles of the Code
So as to protect and enhance the value that accrues to the ultimate beneficiary, institutional investors should:
- Publicly disclose their policy on how they will discharge their stewardship responsibilities
- Have a robust policy on managing conflicts of interest in relation to stewardship which should be publicly disclosed
- Monitor their investee companies
- Establish clear guidelines on when and how they will escalate their stewardship activities
- Be willing to act collectively with other investors where appropriate
- Have a clear policy on voting and disclosure of voting activity
- Report periodically on their stewardship and voting activities
Cantab Asset Management’s Stewardship and Engagement Policy
Cantab’s policy is to hold investment managers to account for their actions and to act in the best interest of clients. We contact each of the asset managers we invest with on an annual basis to ensure that they are complying with our governance requirements at a company level and in their investment approach.
We require asset managers to provide an annual attestation of compliance for each fund in which we invest to confirm it continues to operate in line with its investment objectives. This includes a request for details of their latest Stewardship Code engagement and ESG policy as well as details of any material events and compliance with regulatory requirements. Failure to complete the attestation would lead us to reconsider our relationship with the manager and take appropriate recourse through our investment committee.
The Cantab ESG questionnaire for multiple asset classes introduces additional scrutiny on asset managers. The questionnaire is split into two sections with the first focusing on the asset manager business and its attitude, capability and implementation for investing responsibly. We ask managers about their ESG team resource and whether they incorporate climate change into decision making. The second section focuses on the engagements and votes made between the asset manager and its underlying investments at a fund level. It is this more granular information that will allow stakeholders to contextualise the approaches of asset managers in relation to their own circumstances.
Reporting on voting and engagement is clearer for listed equity managers whereas currently, reporting approaches on good stewardship in fixed income funds is relatively limited. We expect our asset managers to begin reporting on the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (‘TCFD’).
Conflicts of Interest
We recognise the importance of identifying and effectively managing potential conflicts of interest arising in the course of business. Our Conflicts of Interest document sets out our policy for managing such conflicts.
Regarding Stewardship at a company level, Cantab’s Equal Opportunities Policy and Modern Slavery Statement were approved by the Board and affirm Cantab’s commitment to social well-being. Cantab’s support for charities has been endorsed by inclusion of a contribution in the annual budget.
Where we hold units in funds rather than shares in underlying companies, we have effectively delegated voting responsibility to the asset managers and so our priority when investing is to ensure our asset managers have a coherent voting policy in place. We expect asset managers to vote in line with their documented voting policy.
Where we hold direct equities in funds that we manage, we use Broadridge’s ProxyEdge platform to implement our votes as instructed by Cantab. We do not use proxy advisors, preferring to conduct our own assessment when making voting decisions and we do not disclose voting activity. All our investee companies are monitored as a natural and ongoing part of our investment process.