Asset manager RCM may start filing shareholder resolutions in ESG push

Allianz boutique ramps up global proxy voting system

RCM, the funds boutique with some $153.7bn (€106.7bn) in assets under management or advice that’s part of Allianz Global Investors, may start filing shareholder resolutions at companies where it thinks it’s worthwhile.
“It’s something we may do in the future,” said Bozena Jankowska, RCM’s Global Head of Sustainability Research. “Where we think we can have an impact we will do it in the interests of clients and investors.”
It would be done on a case-by-case basis, due to the amount of work and energy involved in tabling resolutions. And it comes as the firm is ramping up a global proxy voting structure internally, Jankowska said.
Jankowska, who recently took over as chair of UKSIF’s analyst committee, said RCM aims to become a thought leader on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters; it plans to unveil a major white paper next week. It has also teamed up with a US academic institution, which Jankowska declined to name, to look at ESG in emerging markets.

Jankowska also revealed RCM is working on an innovative long-term investment product to try toaddress short-termism, though she declined to provide further details.

RCM now discloses its voting record in the UK. In the first quarter it voted on 1,860 proposals at 196 meetings, voting ‘for’ 1,712 and ‘against’ 120. It abstained on eight.
The firm has not traditionally seen itself as an ‘activist’ investor, though it does engage with senior management.
“It is not our common practice to act in a collaborative manner with other asset managers or owners but we do not exclude the possibility of entering into a dialogue with other asset managers in the future, were the issue at stake of sufficient materiality to our clients’ interests,” it says on its web site. Jankowska said investor concerns about acting in concert rules were a “red herring”.
RCM was founded in 1970 in San Francisco and become a subsidiary of Dresdner Bank in 1996 before the bank merged with insurer Allianz in 2001.
It’s a member of International Corporate Governance Network and a signatory to the UK’s Stewardship Code.