Engaging with corporate management

Our main aim is to build relationships and understand the long-term sustainability of the companies in which we invest.

14 may 2020

Our engagement activities:

During 2019, we held over 1400 meetings with prospective or investee companies. Of these, 358 met our definition of engagement. Approximately one third of those meetings were thematic and 19 were focused on UN Global Contact violations. They covered 231 companies across regions and sectors. The majority had global operations and supply chains but were headquartered in developed markets.

Location of companies engaged in 2019

Companies we have been engaging with across the world include 10% in Asia-Pacific, 42% in the Americas and 48% Europe, Middle-East and Africa.

Sectors of companies engaged in 2019

Companies we have been engaging with across a number of sectors including communication services (9%), consumer discretionary (13%), consumer staples (15%), energy (26%), financials (43%), healthcare (24%), industrials (21%), information technology (19%), materials (24%), real estate (12%) and utilities (25%).

In 2019, we introduced an enhanced internal tracking system to assess the progress of dialogue against defined engagement objectives. As this is a new metric and for some of our engagements formalized engagement objectives have only recently been introduced, we expect future reporting to record increased numbers in terms of engagement progress.

In relation to proxy voting decisions, almost one third of our engagements provided useful and tangible insights.

We engaged with companies individually and in collaboration with other investors. Collaborating with peers helped us convey one consistent message to companies on systemic issues which could severely impact financial markets (i.e. climate change). 13% of our 2019 engagements were collaborative.

52% of our engagement meetings were held with the CEO/CFO or another C-suite representative. In approximately 34% of cases we met the Chair or an independent Board member. 31% of our engagement meetings were conducted with an ESG expert, such as the head of the sustainability department.

Topics addressed during our engagements

Our dialogue with companies covered a wide range of topics as the chart below illustrates. A large proportion of the engagements focused on governance, remuneration, business strategy and capital management.

One engagement meeting will likely address more than one topic. In total we held 358 engagements in 2019.

Level of access to companies during 2019

Level of representation

Level of representation

Number of meetings

Number of meetings

Percentage on the total

Percentage on the total

Level of representation

CEO/CF0 and Other C-Suite

Number of meetings

187

Percentage on the total

52%

Level of representation

Chair and Non- Executive board members

Number of meetings

120

Percentage on the total

34%

Level of representation

Corporate secretary or legal counsel

Number of meetings

50

Percentage on the total

14%

Level of representation

IR

Number of meetings

279

Percentage on the total

78%

Level of representation

ESG expert

Number of meetings

105

Percentage on the total

29%

Level of representation

Other

Number of meetings

39

Percentage on the total

11%

Level of representation

Total engagements

Number of meetings

358

Percentage on the total

 

Topics discussed with companies

Topics

Topics

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

Topics

Corporate Governance

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

191

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

53%

Topics

Strategy & Business Model

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

150

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

42%

Topics

Remuneration

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

138

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

39%

Topics

Environmental Management & Climate Change

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

133

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

37%

Topics

Transparency & Disclosure

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

107

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

30%

Topics

Business Conduct & Culture

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

81

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

23%

Topics

Capital Management

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

82

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

23%

Topics

Human Capital Management & Labor Standards

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

63

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

18%

Topics

Operational Management

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

57

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

16%

Topics

Community Impact & Human Rights

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

28

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

8%

Topics

Audit & Accounting

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

26

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

7%

Topics

Total number of engagement meetings held

Number of engagement meetings in which the topic was discussed

358

Number of meetings in which the topic was discussed expressed as a percentage of total meetings held

 

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Views and opinions expressed are presented for informational purposes only and are a reflection of UBS Asset Management’s best judgment at the time a report or other content was compiled. UBS specifically prohibits the redistribution or reproduction of this material in whole or in part without the prior written permission of UBS and UBS accepts no liability whatsoever for the actions of third parties in this respect. The information and opinions contained in the content of this webpage have been compiled or arrived at based upon information obtained from sources believed to be reliable and in good faith but no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All such information and opinions are subject to change without notice but any obligation to update or alter forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise is disclaimed. Source for all data/charts, if not stated otherwise: UBS Asset Management.
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