EXCLUSIVE: Goldman Sachs Asset Management makes responsible investing commitment

GSAM signs up to UN PRI and plots ESG integration process.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), the fund management division of banking giant, Goldman Sachs, has joined other major US fund managers including Blackrock and PIMCO by signing the UNPRI and outlining its plans to make responsible investment a key plank of its funds business.
“We are committed to responsible and sustainable investing and are working to further integrate ESG (environmental, social and governance) principles into investment strategies and client solutions globally,” the firm said in a statement.
“We believe responsible and sustainable investing extends beyond the evaluation of quantitative factors and traditional fundamental analysis,” it added. “Where material, it should include the analysis of an entity’s impact on its stakeholders, the environment and society.”
GSAM, one of the world’s top 10 asset managers with $714.6bn (€543.6bn) in assets under management, said it had backed this up by becoming a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

GSAM said ESG factors could affect investment performance, expose potential investment risks, and provide an indication of the management excellence andleadership in companies it invests in. The firm is working to formally integrate ESG analysis into its investment processes, where “consistent with its fiduciary duty”.

It said it had adopted a 24-page global proxy voting policy, which it aims to update annually “to incorporate our current beliefs on key governance and ESG topics”.

In its dialogues with companies, GSAM says it will seek “enhanced disclosure of ESG factors and risks” particularly where it could affect the value of investments.”

“Sustainable investing extends beyond the evaluation of quantitative factors”

The policy covers fundamental equity as well as corporate credit. The latter, it said, would be a “natural starting point” as it seeks to formalise its ESG analysis of the global fixed income market over time.

GSAM is already a signatory to the Carbon Disclosure Project and the UK Stewardship Code.

GSAM was founded in 1988, and is now chaired by Jim O’Neill. Link to GSAM Citizenship site