Today’s investors expect fund managers to be a force for good and to create lasting social change, according to one chief executive.
Legg Mason’s chief executive Joseph Sullivan said investors expected the firm to be a catalyst for social good.
“We are dedicated to being that force for good that investors expect and to fulfilling our mission of investing to improve lives,” he said.
On the tenth anniversary of Legg Mason’s annual Corporate Social Responsibility report, Mr Sullivan said the firm had committed to build a more diverse work environment to the benefit of its clients.
“When we generate market-beating returns for our clients, profits for our financial stakeholders and good compensation for our employees, we can do more in our communities and benefit the world around us,” he said.
In the past year, Legg Mason has increased its investment in ESG strategies by 15 per cent to $183 billion of long-term assets under management.
Mr Sullivan said its investment managers had all heavily invested into ESG factors in different ways, with various degrees of utilisation.
“Our nine independent investment managers, each with its own unique thinking, employ both ESG analysis and direct engagement to identify opportunities. All nine of our affiliates are PRI signatories and $183 billion of our long-term AUM is in strategies that utilize ESG factors,” he said.
Principles for responsible investment (PRI) have become increasingly important in raising awareness about responsible investing said David Sheasby, head of stewardship and ESG at Legg Mason affiliate Martin Currie.
“The ESG landscape is rapidly evolving, and the PRI has been instrumental in raising awareness about responsible investing.
“It’s more relevant than ever to incorporate ESG considerations into our investment philosophies and contribute to the development of a more sustainable global financial system,” said Mr Sheasby.
In 2018, Legg Mason also become the first company to earn the Anti-Bribery Management Systems Certificate and received a 95 per cent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
Mr Sullivan said that these achievements showcased the hard work undertaken by Legg Mason and its investment affiliates worldwide.
“This commitment means mindfully, consciously and consistently bringing different voices into the conversation, empowering a broader group of stakeholders to influence and make decisions,” he said.
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