◀ Back
Accept Decline
 Worldwide Leaders Sustainability

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability

The Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategy launched in November 2013 and transitioned to become a dedicated sustainability strategy in October 2016. 

Download overview
Important Note: I have read and agree, click to minimise Important Note: Click to maximise

This publication is provided by First Sentier Investors (Australia) IM Ltd (‘FSI AIM’ or ‘Stewart Investors’) in good faith and is designed as a summary to accompany the Product Disclosure Statement for the Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund (‘the Fund’). The Product Disclosure Statement for the Fund is available from FSI, or Implemented Investment Solutions Limited (‘IIS’ or ‘the Issuer’) and on https://disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/ or https://iisolutions.co.nz/fund-hosting/documents-and-reporting-2/.

FSI AIM forms part of First Sentier Investors, a global asset management business which is ultimately owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc (‘MUFG’). Stewart Investors is the name of an investment team forming part of the First Sentier Investors Group.

The information contained in this publication is not an offer of units in the Fund or a proposal or an invitation to make an offer to sell, or a recommendation to subscribe for or purchase any units in the Fund. If you are making an investment directly then you will be required to complete the application form, which can be obtained from IIS.

The information and any opinions in this publication are based on sources that Stewart Investors believes are reliable and accurate. Stewart Investors, its affiliates, directors, officers and employees make no representations or warranties of any kind as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication and disclaim liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that may arise from any reliance on the information or any opinions, conclusions or recommendations contained in it, whether that loss or damage is caused by any fault or negligence on the part of Stewart Investors, or otherwise, except for any statutory liability which cannot be excluded.

All opinions reflect Stewart Investors’ judgment on the date of this publication and are subject to change without notice. This disclaimer extends to IIS, and any entity that may distribute this publication. The information in this publication is not intended to be financial advice for the purposes of the Financial Markets Conduct Act2013 (FMC Act), as amended by the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (FSLAA).

In particular, in preparing this publication, Stewart Investors did not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. Professional investment advice from an appropriately qualified adviser should be taken before making any investment.

Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, unit prices may go down as well as up and an investor in the Fund may not recover the full amount the capital that they invest.

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Stewart Investors or IIS. IIS is the issuer and manager of the Fund. Stewart Investors is the investment manager of the Fund.

© First Sentier Investors Group

The Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategy launched in November 2013 and transitioned to become a dedicated sustainability strategy in October 2016. The strategy invests in 40-60 high-quality global companies that are particularly well positioned to contribute to, and benefit from, sustainable development.

Leaders simply means that this strategy is focused on companies with a market cap value of at least USD5 billion. 

Strategy highlights: a focus on quality and sustainability

  • Companies must contribute to sustainable development and make a net-positive impact to a more sustainable future. Portfolio Explorer >

  • We invest in high-quality companies with exceptional cultures, strong franchises and resilient financials. How we pick companies >

  • We avoid companies linked to harmful activities and engage and vote for positive change. Our position on harmful products >

  • Our approach is long-term, bottom-up, high conviction and benchmark agnostic

  • We focus on capital preservation as well as capital growth – we define risk as the permanent loss of client capital

Latest insights

Strategy update: Q4 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategy update: 1 October - 31 December 2022

Commentary on short-term market gyrations is always a good way to end up with egg on faces and yet there is plenty of it going around at the moment.

Talking heads seem to be getting excited by the idea that ‘inflation is slowing’ but macro analyses like these often commit the sin of relative comparison, and in doing so they ignore two key issues: firstly, what that means in real terms to real people (i.e. ‘lower inflation’ still means higher living costs) and secondly, what bearing that has on actual companies, operating on the ground, which are continuing to struggle to balance supply chain issues alongside demand concerns from what appears to be a slowing outlook across the board. For us, we continue to analyse investment opportunities by focusing heavily on high corporate quality and on good sustainability positioning for the long term.

In the quarter, we took the opportunity to initiate a position in Roper Technologies (United States: Information Technology), which is a high-quality and diversified US industrial holding company, supplying vertical software as well as medical and water products. We also initiated a position in a well-known Japanese bicycle supplier at much more generous valuations. We added to positions in: Watsco (United States: Industrials), a well-stewarded heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company positioned to benefit from environmental tailwinds. OCBC Bank (Singapore: Financials), a well-run, family-owned Singaporean bank, headquartered in a country known for its economic and macro-prudential stability and with operations in China, Hong Kong and Indonesia. HDFC (India: Financials), a well-run Indian financial institution. Graco (United States: Industrials), a well-run industrial supplier, and Copart (United States: Industrials), a supplier of online vehicle auctions and services to auto resellers.

We divested from Adobe (United States: Information Technology), which is a well-known software supplier, as we struggled to gain conviction in the franchise amid ongoing succession concerns. We trimmed positions in Texas Instruments (United States: Information Technology) and Synopsys (United States: Information Technology) on the back of geopolitical concerns. We also reduced positions in Coloplast (Denmark: Health Care), Constellation Software (Canada: Information Technology), Tata Consultancy Services (India: Information Technology), Arista Networks (United States: Information Technology) and Fortinet (United States: Information Technology); the general reasons behind these trims were strained relationships between valuations and growth outlooks.

As always, we struggle to make predictions (especially about the future). We continue to do what we always do: analyse and reassess the corporate quality and sustainability positioning of the strategy’s holdings and potential investments. We continue to examine the quality of management, franchise and financials as well as the company’s role in serving society, and balancing that with ecological footprints. Against all that, we are weighing up long-term growth potential and current valuations as we try to assess the likelihood of a good, long-term return for clients. 

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Named new investments disclosed relate to holdings with a portfolio weight over 1%. It is not a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or invest in any fund. Differences between the representative account-specific constraints, currency or fees and those of a similarly managed fund or mandate would affect results.

Download a PDF copy

Select Strategy update and/or Proxy voting to produce a report. You can then download a copy of the report by clicking on the button.

You can build a bespoke report for all our strategies on the full Quarterly update report.

Stewart Investors Quarterly Client Update Q4 2022

1 October - 31 December 2022

Investment philosophy

  • We are stewards: Our role is to allocate society’s capital to productive uses, in accordance with our Hippocratic Oath
  • We are long term: Our time horizon is measured in years, not weeks, and we value companies accordingly
  • We invest only in companies contributing to a more sustainable future: We engage constructively as owners to help companies on their sustainability journeys
  • We invest only in high-quality companies: We seek out companies with exceptional cultures, strong franchises and resilient financials
  • We believe capital preservation is important for capital growth: We define risk as the possibility of the permanent loss of client capital

Investment objective

To generate attractive long-term, risk-adjusted returns by investing in the shares of high-quality companies that are particularly well positioned to contribute to, and benefit from sustainable development.

This publication is provided by First Sentier Investors (Australia) IM Ltd (‘FSI AIM’ or ‘Stewart Investors’) in good faith and is designed as a summary to accompany the Product Disclosure Statement for the Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund (‘the Fund’). The Product Disclosure Statement for the Fund is available from FSI, or Implemented Investment Solutions Limited (‘IIS’ or ‘the Issuer’) and on https://disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz/ or https://iisolutions.co.nz/fund-hosting/documents-and-reporting-2/.

FSI AIM forms part of First Sentier Investors, a global asset management business which is ultimately owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc (‘MUFG’). Stewart Investors is the name of an investment team forming part of the First Sentier Investors Group.

The information contained in this publication is not an offer of units in the Fund or a proposal or an invitation to make an offer to sell, or a recommendation to subscribe for or purchase any units in the Fund. If you are making an investment directly then you will be required to complete the application form, which can be obtained from IIS.

The information and any opinions in this publication are based on sources that Stewart Investors believes are reliable and accurate. Stewart Investors, its affiliates, directors, officers and employees make no representations or warranties of any kind as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication and disclaim liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that may arise from any reliance on the information or any opinions, conclusions or recommendations contained in it, whether that loss or damage is caused by any fault or negligence on the part of Stewart Investors, or otherwise, except for any statutory liability which cannot be excluded.

All opinions reflect Stewart Investors’ judgment on the date of this publication and are subject to change without notice. This disclaimer extends to IIS, and any entity that may distribute this publication. The information in this publication is not intended to be financial advice for the purposes of the Financial Markets Conduct Act2013 (FMC Act), as amended by the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (FSLAA).

In particular, in preparing this publication, Stewart Investors did not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. Professional investment advice from an appropriately qualified adviser should be taken before making any investment.

Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance, unit prices may go down as well as up and an investor in the Fund may not recover the full amount the capital that they invest.

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Stewart Investors or IIS. IIS is the issuer and manager of the Fund. Stewart Investors is the investment manager of the Fund.

This material has been prepared and issued by First Sentier Investors (Australia) IM Ltd (ABN 89 114 194 311, AFSL 289017) (FSI AIM), which forms part of First Sentier Investors, a global asset management business. First Sentier Investors is ultimately owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc (MUFG), a global financial group. Stewart Investors is a trading name of FSI AIM.

It is directed at persons who are professional, sophisticated or wholesale clients and has not been prepared for and is not intended for persons who are retail clients. A copy of the Financial Services Guide for FSI AIM is available from First Sentier Investors on its website. This material contains general information only. It is not intended to provide you with financial product advice and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making an investment decision, you should consider, with a financial adviser, whether this information is appropriate in light of your investment needs, objectives and financial situation. 

Any opinions expressed in this material are the opinions of the individual author at the time of publication only and are subject to change without notice. Such opinions may substantially differ from other individual authors within First Sentier Investors.

MUFG and its subsidiaries do not guarantee the performance of any financial products mentioned or the repayment of capital in relation to any financial products mentioned. Investments in any investment-type financial products mentioned are not deposits or other liabilities of MUFG or its subsidiaries, and investment-type products are subject to investment risk including loss of income and capital invested. 

To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted by FSI AIM, MUFG nor their respective affiliates for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. This material contains, or is based upon, information that we believe to be accurate and reliable, however neither FSI AIM, MUFG nor their respective affiliates offer any warranty that it contains no factual errors. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of FSI AIM.

Some of the information within has been compiled using data from a representative account. This information relates to an existing Stewart Investors strategy and has been provided to illustrate Stewart Investors’ expertise in the strategy. This material is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation, a solicitation, an offer, an advice or an invitation to purchase or sell any fund and should in no case be interpreted as such. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

References to specific securities (if any) are included for the purpose of illustration only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the same. Any securities referenced may or may not form part of the holdings of First Sentier Investors’ portfolios at a certain point in time, and the holdings may change over time.

© First Sentier Investors Group

Strategy update: Q3 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategy update: 1 July - 30 September 2022

Generally speaking, over the past quarter, a few high-level points are becoming clear. It seems that macro-economic and company-specific data and commentary continues to raise alarm bells and that the volume of geopolitical noise rises unabated. A final observation is that financial fundamentals are not yet being rewarded by the market which continues to focus on oil and gas: the only sector to post positive returns so far this year.

We have taken this opportunity to initiate three new positions in familiar companies including one of the highest-quality Swedish industrials globally and a high-quality US insurer now more reasonably valued. We have also taken a position in Beiersdorf (Germany: Consumer Staples) the family-owned home and personal care company.

We have taken the opportunity to add to Deutsche Post DHL Group (Germany: Industrials) and Natura (Brazil: Consumer Staples) as their share prices have fallen, and continue to build positions in resilient franchises such as Nestlé (Switzerland: Consumer Staples) and bioMérieux (France: Health Care).  

At the same time, we have taken the opportunity to divest our holdings in Veeva Systems (United States: Health Care), the life-science, cloud computing company, as we felt that valuations were exceeding reasonable expectations of franchise growth. We have also trimmed positions in MonotaRO (Japan: Industrials), Synopsys (United States: Information Technology), Jack Henry & Associates (United States: Information Technology), Edwards Lifesciences (United States: Health Care) and Costco (United States: Consumer Staples) as valuations crept up. We believe these changes leave the portfolio in a more robust position in a difficult time for economies and markets.

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Named new investments disclosed relate to holdings with a portfolio weight over 1%. It is not a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or invest in any fund. Differences between the representative account-specific constraints, currency or fees and those of a similarly managed fund or mandate would affect results.

Strategy update: Q2 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategy update: 1 April - 30 June 2022

There is a lot of “macro” economic chatter going on right now, and while it is relevant to the investment environment, it is also somewhat noisy for bottom-up investors like us.

We remain focused on the quality of the management teams in which we invest. We have faith that they are capable of managing their franchises through, what will likely be, a stormy cycle. We believe that these franchises are necessary and have the strength to endure. Finally, we are confident that the balance sheets and financials underpinning these companies are built to last.

We are aware that the sustainability challenges and opportunities facing our companies are the key investment issues over the long term, and hence we remain mindful of the long term, especially while the short-term noise increases. This is how we have always invested and, when it comes to protecting and growing our clients’ capital, we believe these criteria are as important now as they ever have been.

We have taken the opportunity to initiate two new positions in the quarter. First is a Singaporean bank, OCBC Bank, which we have known for decades through our Asia funds. It is a well-governed, family-owned bank based in Singapore; a market known for its economic and macro-prudential discipline. OCBC also has subsidiaries and associates in Indonesia, Hong Kong and China, which we believe will help drive future profitability. The valuations here are not demanding, versus acceptable and reasonable long-term return expectations.

We have also re-invested in Nestlé (Switzerland) which is a consumer franchise that is well positioned for resilience and robust growth in a difficult inflationary environment. We have long said that there is no such thing as a perfect company and some of these ‘imperfect giants’ make compelling investment cases as they address broader franchise challenges: Nestlé falls into this category.

We have added to several positions in the quarter as soft share prices have presented some very exciting opportunities. Higher positions in companies such as Deutsche Post DHL Group (Germany), bioMérieux (France) and Watsco (United States) should add to portfolio resilience, while additions to Hamamatsu Photonics (Japan) and WEG (Brazil) should provide compelling longer-term growth opportunities.

We have sold out of Illumina (United States) and Ansys (United States). Increasingly Illumina was demonstrating franchise issues ranging from regulatory concerns (over their re-acquisition of early-cancer detection testing company, Grail) to patent lawsuits, and it became harder to assess its long-term franchise potential. For Ansys, while we have been invested for many years, we began to feel that the quality of management was deteriorating, as reflected by its growth struggles and declining financial quality.

As is always the case, the macro outlook remains opaque, and while there is plenty of economic noise out there, there is also plenty of comfort to be found in high-quality managements, strong and necessary sustainability franchises and resilient balance sheets and financials, all of which allow us to focus on the next decade (rather than the next quarter). These characteristics should provide resilience for the portfolio. 

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Named new investments disclosed relate to holdings with a portfolio weight over 1%. It is not a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or invest in any fund. Differences between the representative account-specific constraints, currency or fees and those of a similarly managed fund or mandate would affect results.

Strategy update: Q1 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategy update: 1 January - 31 March 2022

The strategy's performance during the quarter was disappointing but not surprising. The conflict in Ukraine is adding fuel to the inflationary pressures that had already been building up.

Our limited exposure to commodity businesses and avoidance of fossil-fuel companies means our portfolios will underperform in such markets. 

Our portfolio companies tend to be consumers of commodities. As category leaders with structural growth opportunities, they are well placed to manage inflation. This has given us some great opportunities to add to some of our favourite holdings such as bioMérieux (France), Deutsche Post DHL Group (Germany), Expeditors (United States), HDFC (India) and Natura (Brazil). Deutsche Post, which owns DHL, the world’s leading express-logistics business is on a price/earnings ratio (PE) of 11x. While the pandemic played a part in boosting near-term earnings, the business has gone from strength to strength, with cash flows compounding at 15% over the last decade1. HDFC is trading at its cheapest valuations in the last three decades, as measured by its price to book.

Over the course of this quarter, we also initiated a position in KLA-Tencor (United States), a leading supplier of process control and yield management equipment to the semiconductor supply chain. KLA have, since 1976, consistently reinvested in innovation and improving research and development (R&D). This investment, combined with working closely with their customers over decades, has meant that KLA is one of the most trusted equipment suppliers in this ecosystem, with dominant market share in process control. Whilst the business is fully free float, the long-tenured managers have stewarded the company through cycles, maintaining steady growth and profitability, as well as a robust balance sheet. As an indicator, the top three managers have between them 92 years at KLA. The equipment the company produces enables semiconductor foundries to reduce waste and improve yields, thereby making KLA well positioned to continue growing with the demand for more chips.

During the quarter, we sold out of Schindler (Switzerland). While we still like the franchise and ownership, there were better opportunities given its valuation and growth outlook. We also exited Shopify (Canada) and Masimo (United States) as we were unable to build conviction. In the case of Shopify, valuations remain expensive despite a deterioration in the outlook for future capital expenditure (CapEx). While in Masimo, a significant unrelated diversification broke the investment case. We continued to trim our holdings in Ansys (United States), Fortinet (United States) and Arista Networks (United States) due to expensive valuations.

A notable feature of some of our companies is the use of non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) earnings. For instance, Ansys and Fortinet trade on a PE multiples of 40x and 70x respectively2. However, using a more conservative GAAP accounting approach, these jump to 57x and 87x. One of the main drivers of this difference is the treatment of stock compensation. Non-GAAP earnings usually exclude stock compensation in income statements and operating cash flows, significantly overstating earnings. Strong stock market returns and poor accounting and performance assessment choices are leading to higher stock issuances to employees. Attracting and retaining talent in such markets is a challenge, but simply paying more stock to employees may not prove to be a sustainable long-term solution. One only has to go back to the tech bubble in 2000 to understand the risks of poor stock market performance on employee morale.

In the last decade, the S&P 500 has returned roughly 16% p.a3. A very strong period considering equity returns over the last century are closer to 10%. Low interest rates have provided immense tailwinds to these returns. However, the coming decade may not be as accommodative given rising inflationary pressures. We continue to look for stewards who are mindful of the easy monetary, fiscal and global trading conditions. One of the reasons why we have preferred net cash balance sheets, even during a period of low interest rates. Such businesses will have the financial flexibility to capitalize on opportunities that might arise from a more challenging macro-environment. We remain excited by the sustainability positioning, balance sheet strength and growth prospects of our portfolio companies. We were lucky to add to some of them at cheaper valuations last quarter. 

1  Source: FactSet 

2 Source: FactSet 

3 S&P 500 Returns since 2012, https://www.officialdata.org/us/stocks/s-p-500/2012?amount=100&endYear=2022

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Named new investments disclosed relate to holdings with a portfolio weight over 1%. It is not a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or invest in any fund. Differences between the representative account-specific constraints, currency or fees and those of a similarly managed fund or mandate would affect results.

Proxy voting: Q4 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability proxy voting: 1 October - 31 December 2022

Proxy voting by country of origin

Proxy voting by proposal category

During the quarter there were 72 resolutions from eight companies to vote on. On behalf of clients, we voted against four resolutions.

We voted against the approval of CSL's remuneration report and the equity-based remuneration of the CEO. We believe their remuneration focuses on the shorter term rather than the longer term, and the absolute level of CEO pay, and the gap between median pay, is excessive. (two resolutions)

We voted against the appointment of the auditors at Coloplast and KLA Corporation, as they have been in place for over 10 years and the companies have given no information on intended rotation. We believe rotating an auditor on a relatively frequent basis (e.g. every 5-10 years) helps to ensure a fresh pair of eyes are examining the accounts, and follows best practice. (two resolutions)

We supported a shareholder proposal relating to KLA Corporation which requested the company report on how it intends to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement. (one resolution)

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Proxy voting chart numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding. SHP means: Shareholder Proposal.

Proxy voting: Q3 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability proxy voting: 1 July - 30 September 2022

Proxy voting by country of origin

Proxy voting by proposal category

During the quarter there were 48 resolutions from four companies to vote on. On behalf of clients, we did not vote against any resolutions.

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Proxy voting chart numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding. SHP means: Shareholder Proposal.

Proxy voting: Q2 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability proxy voting: 1 April - 30 June 2022

During the quarter, there were 338 resolutions from 27 companies to vote on. On behalf of clients, we voted against 32 and abstained on four resolutions.

We voted against Adobe’s execution remuneration, as we believe the CEO's total remuneration is high compared to the median employee. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as they have been in place for over 10 years and the company has given no information on intended rotation. We believe rotating an auditor on a relatively frequent basis (e.g. every 5-10 years) helps to ensure a fresh pair of eyes are examining the accounts, and following best practice. (two resolutions)

We voted against Ansys’ executive remuneration, as we believe it is subject to adjustments to facilitate payments to management. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (two resolutions)

We voted against the appointment of the auditor at Arista NetworksCognex, Constellation Software, Expeditors, Fastenal, Fortinet, Graco and Old Dominion Freight Line, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (eight resolutions)

We voted against Edwards Lifesciences’ execution remuneration, as we believe there is an over reliance on options resulting in outsized pay for their CEO. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (two resolutions)

We voted against Illumina’s executive remuneration as they have changed the goalposts of their long-term incentive plan in light of COVID-19. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (two resolutions)

We voted against Knorr-Bremse’s remuneration report due to adjustments made to executive remuneration in relation to the impact of COVID-19. (one resolution)

We voted against Philips’ remuneration report as we believe it is unnecessarily complex and is subject to repeated adjustments to facilitate payments to management. (one resolution)

We voted against Natura's request to adopt cumulative voting and to recast votes for an amended slate of directors. We do not believe these requests are in shareholders’ interests. Unfortunately, due to an operational voting error, we abstained from voting on the company’s remuneration policy and the election of a candidate to the supervisory council. We had intended to vote for the remuneration policy, but had flagged areas to follow up with the company on. Our voting intention was to abstain from voting on the establishment of a supervisory council and a separate election for board members. This error did not have a material impact on the results of the meeting. (two resolutions against, two resolutions abstained)

We voted against amendments to Synopsys’ equity incentive plan due to uncertainties over greater stock based compensation grants. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (two resolutions)

We voted against Texas Instruments’ executive remuneration, as we believe the absolute pay-outs for the CEO are high compared to other executive directors and the median employee. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (two resolutions)

We voted against amendments to Veeva System’s equity incentive plan which would have given authority to the administrator to reprice options without shareholder approval. We voted against the appointment of the auditor, as per our comments on auditor rotation above. (two resolutions)

We voted against WEG’s request to adopt cumulative voting and to recast votes for the amended board and supervisory council slate. We do not believe these requests are in shareholders’ interests. We abstained from voting for a minority candidate as we prefer to support the Board. (three resolutions against, two resolutions abstained)

We supported a shareholder proposal relating to Constellation Software which requested the company prepare a report on its plans to identify, address, mitigate and dismantle racial disparities within its workforce. (one resolution)

We supported a shareholder proposal relating to Fortinet which requested the company eliminate its supermajority vote provisions. Supermajority vote requirements can impede shareholders’ abilities to vote on resolutions that are in their interests. (one resolution)

We supported shareholder proposals relating to Edwards LifesciencesIllumina and Texas Instruments which would enable shareholders with a combined 10% share ownership the right to call a special shareholder meeting. (three resolutions)

We supported a shareholder proposal relating to Expeditors which requested the company report semi-annually on its political contributions and expenditures. (one resolution)

We voted against a shareholder proposal relating to Ansys where shareholders were seeking to declassify the board. We believe a classified board offers some protection against hostile takeovers. (one resolution)

We voted against a shareholder proposal relating to Synopsys which would have enabled shareholders to take action with written consent on important issues that arise between annual meetings. We consider ourselves active shareholders and voting an important responsibility in our investment management duties. (one resolution)

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Proxy voting chart numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding. SHP means: Shareholder Proposal.

Proxy voting: Q1 2022

Worldwide Leaders Sustainability proxy voting: 1 January - 31 March 2022

During the quarter there were 57 resolutions from six companies to vote on. On behalf of clients, we voted against three resolutions.

Voting with management, we voted against the approval of two proposals put forward by shareholders of Costco. We voted against the request for the company to disclose charitable contributions of US$5,000 or more, as we find the company's current disclosure regarding its charitable activities to be adequate. We also voted against the request for the company to report on its sustainability commitment to address structural racism, nutrition insecurity, and health disparities. We are not convinced that this proposal would be a productive use of company resources, particularly given its existing disclosures on its efforts to improve access to affordable, healthy food and to address food insecurity through philanthropic efforts. (two resolutions)

We supported one shareholder proposal requesting Costco adopt short-, medium-, and long-term science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Although the Company has provided detailed disclosures concerning its Climate Action Plan and has committed to setting a Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction target, we believe supporting this resolution will further encourage the development of these goals.

We voted against the appointment of the auditor at Infineon Technologies, as they have been in place for over 20 years and the company has given no information on intended rotation. (one resolution)

Source for company information: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. This stock information does not constitute any offer or inducement to enter into any investment activity. Portfolio data shown is from representative strategy accounts of the strategy shown above. Proxy voting chart numbers may not add to 100 due to rounding. SHP means: Shareholder Proposal.

If you are unable to view the portfolio explorer, please re-open in Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari or Opera. IE11 is not supported.

For illustrative purposes only. Reference to the names of example company names mentioned in this communication is merely for explaining the investment strategy and should not be construed as investment advice or investment recommendation of those companies. Companies mentioned herein may or may not form part of the holdings of Stewart Investors. Holdings are subject to change.

Certain statements, estimates, and projections in this document may be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon Stewart Investors’ current assumptions and beliefs, in light of currently available information, but involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual actions or results may differ materially from those discussed. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. There is no certainty that current conditions will last, and Stewart Investors undertakes no obligation to correct, revise or update information herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Source: Stewart Investors investment team and company data. Securities mentioned are all holdings which have/have had a portfolio weight over 0.5% from representative Asia Pacific Sustainability Strategy, Asia Pacific & Japan Sustainability Strategy, Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability Strategy, European Sustainability Strategy, European (ex UK) Sustainability Strategy, Global Emerging Markets Leaders Sustainability Strategy, Global Emerging Markets Sustainability Strategy, Indian Subcontinent Sustainability Strategy, Worldwide Sustainability Strategy and Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Strategy accounts up to 31 December 2022.

The Stewart Investors supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The full list of SDGs can be found on the United Nations website.

Source for Climate Solutions and impact figures: © 2014–2023 Project Drawdown (drawdown.org). Source for Human Development Pillars: Stewart Investors investment team.

Source for climate solutions and human development analysis and mapping: Stewart Investors investment team. Contributions are defined by the team as demonstrable contributions to any solution, either direct (directly attributable to products, services or practices provided by that company), or enabling (supported or made possible by products or technologies provided by that company).

Investment terms

View our list of investment terms to help you understand the terminology within this document.

Fund data and information

Performance

Our investment philosophy focuses on delivering strong absolute returns over cycles. This focus means that we define risk as the loss of clients’ capital rather than in terms of deviation from any benchmark index. As a result, our performance is likely to lag steeply rising markets, but deliver better results in falling markets. This approach has served clients well over time and over cycles. 

Given that the Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund is a new fund, we have included the performance of a representative Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Strategy account, to demonstrate Stewart Investors historic performance in the strategy for historical context.

% AUD gross of fees as at 31 December 2022

Period Since launch 5 years 3 years 1 year 6 months 3 months
Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Portfolio 10.6 8.9 7.4 -15.8 6.3 2.7
MSCI AC World Index 10.2 8.3 5.3 -12.5 3.7 4.1
Relative (arithmetic) 0.4 0.6 2.1 -3.4 2.6 -1.4

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
Source: First Sentier Investors gross of fees. The data and performance returns shown are not those of Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund but for a representative Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Strategy account that implements the same investment strategy as the Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund. Source for benchmark: FactSet. Outperformance shown versus the MSCI AC World Index. Index data is net of withholding tax. This Strategy launched in July 1997. Performance calculated from when Stewart Investors started running the investment strategy on 4 December 2013. This information is provided for illustrative purposes to demonstrate Stewart Investors’ activity within the Strategy for the period shown. It is not a recommendation or solicitation to purchase or invest in any fund. Differences between the representative account-specific constraints, currency or fees and those of a similarly managed fund or mandate would affect results.