We are fully supportive of the UK Stewardship Code and the development of global stewardship best practice that will enable the effective oversight of all the companies in which we invest, including the exercise of our rights as a shareholder.
Our approach is set out in our Stewardship Policy, but is made up of several elements.
Brunel believes in being a good steward in all asset classes and will apply a tailored approach appropriate to each portfolio. Brunel will set engagement objectives linked to the priority themes with its overlay engagement provider and each manager. Clients will receive quarterly engagement updates.
We are committed to supporting policy makers, regulators and industry bodies in the development and promotion of the codes and supporting guidance, and publicly disclose all our consultation responses below.
We also support the policy makers in other countries where practicable, but in these instances will generally contribute to a collaborative consultation submission.
In 2023 we have responded to the following consultations.
As part of owning publicly listed companies, we, on behalf of our clients, aim to vote at 100% company meetings. We do this in adherence with our own set of voting guidelines, these are applied to all assets managed by Brunel in segregated accounts* and in pooled listed equity funds.
More details can be found in our Stewardship Policy.
Our voting record demonstrates our policy in action, the links below take you to our records and statistics.
*A segregated account is one in which the ‘shares’ are held separately from other investors and we are able to instruct the voting directly.
Engagement implementation will be undertaken by asset managers, our specialist provider Hermes EOS, and via collaborative forums. However, Brunel will seek to undertake direct engagement where we feel that this will add value.
More on this can be found in our Stewardship Policy. You may also be interested to read: Hermes EOS Engagement Plan 2023-2025
To view a list of companies we have engaged on a theme-by-theme basis see our: List of Companies Engaged by Theme
Our most recent engagement activities
In February 2023, Brunel and our partners withdrew a resolution tabled at Barclays’ 2024 AGM on financing of new oil and gas infrastructure.
The withdrawal came on the back of extensive engagement which led to the publication of a new Climate Change Statement.
Banks are systemic actors that can alter the flow of capital, with enormous implications for transition.
Through this update, Barclays has taken significant steps to reduce its exposure to fossil fuels – for instance, by ceasing direct financing of new oil and gas projects and introducing restrictions on pureplay companies engaging in long-lead expansion. Barclays has also set out clear expectations for energy sector clients on decarbonisation progress – with consequences for continued financing.
While we recognise that Barclays has further to go, the collaborative efforts of like-minded investors has led to meaningful, tangible progress from a bank under pressure from different stakeholders.
Brunel has always placed a strong emphasis on engaging with the sector to bring change. We began engaging with Barclays in 2019, leading the bank to make a Net Zero commitment in 2020.
Engagement is a gradual process that often brings about incremental progress. We remain committed to long-term and consistent engagement to maximise our impact.
Despite the progress, Barclays remains one of the major financiers of fossil fuels. Brunel is now focused on the effectiveness of Barclay’s climate transition reviews and broadening its restrictions on fracking.
Details of our holdings are uploaded here on a quarterly basis. These are provided on a lag and published three months after the end after the applicable quarter.
The links below will take you to our Library showing all holdings available for that portfolio.