At RBC GAM*, we believe that being an active, engaged and responsible owner empowers us to enhance the long-term, sustainable performance of our portfolios. We recognize that the rights we have as a large, global investor come with the obligation to actively use those rights in a responsible way.
We believe that the proper disclosure and consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities by the companies or countries in which we are invested is critical to strengthening the overall performance of our portfolios. We seek to integrate ESG factors into our investment process when doing so may have a material impact on our investment risk or return.
Our commitment to integrate ESG factors into our investment process is firm-wide. In addition, we have a dedicated Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment (CGRI) team whose role is to advance ESG integration by managing and coordinating ESG research, engaging with our investee companies on ESG–related issues, overseeing all of our proxy voting, collaborating with like-minded investors and engaging with lawmakers or regulators.
For more information about ESG integration at RBC GAM, please see our Approach to Responsible Investment.
Responsible Investment Commitments
UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UN PRI)
RBC GAM is signatory to the UN PRI. We are committed to putting the UN PRI's six Principles of Responsible Investment into practice and believe that they are aligned with our existing approach to responsible investment.
The PRI assesses signatories' approaches to the Principles based on its assessment methodology. As indicated in our most recent Assessment Report's Summary Scorecard, the PRI gave each of our modules a score of A+.
Detailed responses to the UN PRI on our responsible investing activities for the most recent year can be found in our 2019 RI Transparency Report.
In 2017, RBC GAM joined a coalition of Canada's largest institutional investors known as the Canadian 30% Club Investor Group. As communicated in its Statement of Intent, the group's objective is to achieve a minimum of 30% of women on the boards and in senior management roles of S&P/TSX composite index companies by 2022.
RBC GAM is a member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Alliance and SASB's Investor Advisory Group. SASB's mission is to help businesses around the world identify, manage and report on the sustainability topics that matter most to their investors.
RBC GAM is a founding member of the Investor Stewardship Group (ISG). The ISG is a collective of institutional investors brought together to establish a framework of basic standards of investment stewardship for institutional investors and corporate governance principles for U.S. listed companies.
RBC GAM is a signatory to the UK Stewardship Code, which aims to enhance the quality of engagement between asset managers and companies to help improve long-term risk-adjusted returns to shareholders. We update our Stewardship Code Statement annually.
RBC GAM has accepted the Japan Stewardship Code and have detailed how we comply with the code in our Commitment to the Japan Stewardship Code. RBC GAM will review this document annually and update as necessary after each annual review. Additional information that complements our Commitment to the Japan Stewardship Code, such as information about our proxy voting practices and voting record and our firm approach to responsible investing, can be accessed from this page.
RBC GAM has provided additional disclosure of its approach to stewardship through the NAPF Stewardship Disclosure Framework.
RBC GAM is a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project, which incentivizes companies and cities to measure and disclose their environmental information by putting this information at the heart of business, investment and policy decision making. We are also a signatory to the PRI Statement on ESG in Credit Ratings, which encourages credit rating agencies to proactively take ESG factors into consideration for relevant issuers.
Latest Industry Perspectives
Responsible Investing: An Evolving Landscape reveals the latest views, actions and intentions of institutional investors and consultants related to responsible investing and ESG. The survey was answered by nearly 800 participants from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. Key findings include:
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- A vast majority of institutional investors continue to report using ESG factors as part of their investment approach and decision making.
- Institutions that have adopted ESG extensively maintained a strong belief in its value.
- Overall growth in the adoption of ESG has cooled somewhat. The rapid increase in adoption seen from 2017 to 2018 was not replicated in 2019.
- ESG adopters are clearly thinking deeply about ESG factors and using them across different asset classes and when engaging with companies. Their thinking is evolving about the specific ESG issues that are most important to them.
We are pleased to share with you our 2019 Semi-Annual Report, which highlights our proxy voting activities over the first half of the year. Most companies in developed markets hold their annual general meetings during the spring and, as a result, this is when the bulk of proxy voting activity takes place.
Within this report is an update on evolving trends and best practices which were observed and implemented over this past proxy voting season, including the following:
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- 2019 Proxy Voting Guideline Updates: discusses updates to our guidelines on executive compensation, virtual meetings, and more
- Proxy Voting Record: includes statistics and highlights board gender diversity
- Proxy Season Observations: overview of the most topical shareholder proposals
RBC GAM frequently conducts research on corporate governance and responsible investment. Scroll down for our other publications.
Proxy voting is a key part of our engagement process as it provides an important way for us to convey our views to boards and management. Voting responsibly is part of our fiduciary duty and we make our voting decisions independently and in accordance with our customized Proxy Voting Guidelines. We publish our proxy voting records.
We engage with management or the directors of our investee companies to address risks and opportunities related to ESG factors when they have been identified as particularly material for that company. For example, over the previous year we have had extensive engagement with companies on the issues of executive compensation, board independence, corporate governance and shareholder rights.
We work closely with other like-minded investors and investor coalitions to improve the ESG-related disclosure and practices of our investee companies.
RBC GAM is a founding member of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance (CCGG) and our CIO in Canada, Dan Chornous, is the immediate past Chair and current Vice-Chair of the board. CCGG engages collectively on behalf of all of its members with Canadian public companies in which they have invested.
RBC GAM collaborated with other investors through Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk to release a Statement of Investor Expectations that promotes a consistent framework for the green bond market that builds on the Green Bond Principles.
RBC GAM is a sustaining member of the Responsible Investment Association, Canada's association for responsible investment. A member of our CGRI team is the Board Secretary.
We are pleased to share our recent publications.
* References to RBC GAM include one or more of the following: RBC Global Asset Management Inc. (including Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management), RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc., RBC Global Asset Management (UK) Limited and the asset management division of RBC Global Asset Management (Asia) Limited.