Our approach


Screening

The screening of securities for the sustainable funds is conducted by RLAM’s Responsible Investment Team and is applied to both equities and fixed income investments within the range. In addition to the negative screen criteria, a positive screen is also conducted. The positive screen requires an assessment of whether the company, through its products and services, provides a net benefit to society and/or whether it is a sector leader in terms of its ESG management. Sectors considered more favourably for the funds include healthcare and technology, whereas areas such as commodities are generally avoided.

The corporate governance of a company is considered to be fundamental in the decision to invest and as such forms part of the negative screen. The funds will not invest in a company where corporate governance is below the required standard. Analysis is conducted according to regional governance standards as well as a range of metrics including; board composition; remuneration; audit practices and disclosure. Our governance requirements are stringent for both equities and fixed income and requirements are adapted depending on the type of entity being considered and the inherent investment risk.

The screening process also considers the reputation of the company and the risk that this could pose to the credibility of the funds. As described below, an experienced Internal Advisory Committee assesses the suitability of each company proposed for investment. RLAM also has an External Advisory Committee which provides independent oversight of the Sustainable funds and expertise in sustainability issues.
We believe that the parent company to subsidiaries or special purpose vehicles is the ultimate owner through which risk permeates and as such screening firstly relates to the parent company. Engagement can form an important part of the process, in particular if the publically available information is not sufficient to make an informed recommendation for inclusion or exclusion.  In addition, analysts will also draw on research from external providers, such as MSCI, Manifest and RepRisk.

Investment Approach

Our distinctive approach integrates the consideration of ESG issues alongside financial analysis throughout the investment process. We also actively engage with the companies in which we invest to champion best practice on behalf of our clients, challenging companies on issues such as environmental policy and corporate governance standards. 

Governance of the Sustainable Funds

An internal committee comprising Sustainable Fund managers and the Head of Responsible Investment considers the analysis on whether each security passes or fails.

Where there is not consensus, the security is referred to our External Advisory Committee on responsible investment. The Committee members are independent and have extensive expertise in responsible business matters. Continued suitability of approved securities is monitored on an ongoing basis by the Responsible Investment Team and all securities are formally reviewed on average every two years.

Our External Advisory Committee

Ben Yeoh (Chairman)

Ben is a senior portfolio manager of Global Equities at Royal Bank of Canada. He is in charge of the integrated ESG and RI process for the Global Equities team.

Ben previously worked at First State Investments where he was also responsible for the RI process for the Global Equities fund and prior to that on the sell-side. He has a Starmine award for best Healthcare stock picker and an Extel Thomson award for best integrated SRI research.

Ben studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University achieving the top first in his year, before gaining a scholarship to study at Harvard University. He has written award-winning plays and is currently Chairman of a small theatre charity.

Nicola Parker

Nicola Parker is a Charity Investment Advisor focussing on clients with an interest in Socially Responsible Investment.  This involves both helping charities to monitor the performance of their fund managers on an ongoing basis and assisting with periodic strategy and manager reviews and changes.  

Prior her current role Nicola co-founded WHEB Asset Management in 2009 and until she left for maternity leave in 2011 ran the IM WHEB Sustainability fund, which was up over 20% and outperforming its composite benchmark.  Before founding WHEB Asset Management Nicola was a Director at UBS managing money for Cambridge Colleges and other charities as part of the UBS Charity Team.  
Nicola is passionate about getting investors to think longer term and to invest in sectors that support their values.  She has written for charity publications such as Third Sector around topics such as investing in sustainable water resources and climate change solutions.  Nicola has a Combined Honours in Social Sciences from Durham University and a Masters from SOAS, University of London.  She is a CFA Charterholder.

Prior her current role Nicola co-founded WHEB Asset Management in 2009 and until she left for maternity leave in 2011 ran the IM WHEB Sustainability fund. Before founding WHEB Asset Management Nicola was a Director at UBS as part of the UBS Charity Team.  

Nicola is passionate about getting investors to think longer-term and to invest in sectors that support their values. Nicola has a Combined Honours in Social Sciences from Durham University and a Masters from SOAS, University of London.  She is a CFA Charterholder.

Alex Edmans

Alex Edmans is Professor of Finance at London Business School. Alex graduated from Oxford University and then worked for Morgan Stanley in investment banking (London) and fixed income sales and trading (New York).  After a PhD in Finance from MIT Sloan as a Fulbright Scholar, he joined Wharton, where he won 14 teaching awards in six years and was granted tenure. Alex moved to LBS in 2013 and won the MBA Class of 2016 Teaching Award for the highest-rated professor school-wide, voted by the first-year class.

Alex’s research interests are in corporate finance (corporate governance, executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions), behavioural finance, and corporate social responsibility. He was named a Rising Star in Finance and a Rising Star in Corporate Governance, and was awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Socially Responsible Investing and the FIR-PRI prize for Finance and Sustainability.  His research has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, The Economist, and The Times; and interviewed by Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, CNN, ESPN, Fox, ITV, NPR, Reuters, Sky News, and Sky Sports.  He is a Wall Street Journal “Expert”, co-led a session on behavioural economics at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, and gave a TEDx talk on the “Social Responsibility of Business”. 

Tonia Lovell

Tonia engages in a portfolio of activities after leaving Unilever in mid 2018 having joined the Group in 1997. During this time she had a number of legal roles and experiences in Unilever including Group Secretary from 2010 - 2018 (giving corporate legal and regulatory compliance support to the Boards of Unilever N.V. and Unilever PLC),  General Counsel Corporate Governance from 2015 - 2018 (focusing on competition and privacy law compliance, litigation and employment law), Group Chief Legal Officer from 2010 -2013 (giving legal support to the Unilever Leadership Executive), General Counsel UK and Ireland  from 2003-2010 (including being part of Unilever's UK/Ireland management leadership team from 2007-2010). 

Before joining Unilever Tonia worked at the City law firm Linklaters for six years.

Tonia has an MA in law from Cambridge University and was admitted as a solicitor and a member of the Law Society in November 1993.