I am delighted to introduce our first active ownership report for 2023, albeit a difficult quarter for our active equity management. For nearly forty years our fund management team has leaned into (against) prevailing investment orthodoxies. These fads and fetishes have changed over time and in recent years have coalesced around an ESG imperative. Historically it is true that a shareholder focus, care of the environment and sustainability, (all of course tempered by value), have always been hallmarks of successful long-term investment. We believe that today’s rigid prevailing orthodoxies will produce a greater mix of risk and return outcomes and challenges for investors than in the past, and reinforce the benefits of a dynamic contrarian approach. I refer you to Roman Cassini’s leading article as to how the ESG-era favours those with a capital cycle approach to industry and stock selection.
Our engagement section focuses on a recent trip to Japan conducted by one of our analysts, Chris Beaven. This is a story about how on-the-road engagement has helped open a window into a complex but exciting opportunity, as a cultural and regulatory shift around corporate governance sets the conditions to unlock shareholder value. It's an exciting topic, which has inspired this quarter’s cover image as well as an overweight to the region for the first time in forty years.
Finally, analyst Omar Malik takes a deeper look at the Canadian oil sands sector, where we find a (perhaps surprisingly) strong alignment between decarbonisation efforts and long-run performance.
1 May 2023
Q1 2023 - ESG and Active Ownership Report