Quarterly Client Update: Third Quarter 2023

Quarterly Client Update: Third Quarter 2023

We provide regular strategy updates including portfolio changes and proxy voting, and links to our investment rationales, latest articles, statements, webcasts and videos which explore our thinking on sustainable investment, including the challenges and issues we grapple with in our search for high-quality companies.

Strategy updates: portfolio changes & proxy voting

Find out the latest updates on the strategies we manage including significant portfolio changes and proxy voting.

You can also build your own report by selecting individual strategies of interest.

News from the quarter

Access to Medicine Foundation launches report on generic and biosimilar medicine manufacturers

The Access to Medicine Foundation is an independent non-profit that seeks to mobilise companies to expand access to their essential healthcare products in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

On 26 September, we were delighted to help co-host a multi-stakeholder event in Mumbai, India to launch their landmark report assessing five generic and biosimilar medicine manufacturers’ actions on expanding access to their products in LMICs.

Generic and biosimilar medicines have the potential to be lifelines for millions, offering the same therapeutic and clinical benefits as the originator medicines, but often at significantly lower prices. However, even if a product is comparatively cheaper, payers may still be unable to afford it, which is especially the case for those living in low-income countries and those from vulnerable populations. Among the medicines listed on the World Health Organization's Model List of Essential Medicines, only 10% are under patent protection, highlighting the essential role of generic and biosimilar medicine manufacturers in ensuring their products reach those who need them the most.

To assess what is currently being done by the generics industry to expand access to medicine in LMICs, the report profiles five market-leading companies: Cipla, Hikma, Sun Pharma, Teva, and Viatris. Along with detailed company profiles, it identifies opportunities to strengthen manufacturing and improve the availability of generic and biosimilar medicines.

The report, which marks the first time that any generic or biosimilar medicine manufacturers have been assessed in-depth on their access-to-medicine efforts, reveals areas where companies can focus their attention as they step up efforts to expand access to their essential medicine, such as affordability, product registration, supply, local availability, and adaptive research & development. Given their portfolios and footprints, the five companies assessed can now work to significantly enhance their efforts by acting on the opportunities and the tailored recommendations set out in their respective company profiles.

As long-term investors focused on quality and sustainability, we think generics franchises built on providing access to high-quality medicines at affordable prices are set to benefit from continued growth tailwinds over the coming decades. While these companies create tangible benefits for end users, we recognise areas for improvement within the industry, which is why we support the Foundation’s work to help provide a roadmap of how access to generics can be enhanced.

We are excited about the opportunity for generics companies to continue delivering greater access to healthcare globally while operating sustainably profitable business models.

2023 Investor Statement on Tobacco Prevention

Along with 57 financial institutions, representing over US$2.9trillion assets under management, we co-signed the 2023 Investor Statement on Tobacco Prevention urging governments to accelerate implementation of the World Health Organization Framework on Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Tobacco is fundamentally an unsustainable product given its profound detrimental impact on human and planetary health worldwide. The financial impact of smoking on the global community (due to health costs and lost productivity) is estimated at US$1.4 trillion per year1.

We note that the WHO FCTC is a crucial tool in creating a future free from tobacco, and were delighted to attend the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge High-Level side event on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly where the investor statement was launched.

1 Source: United Nations Tobacco Free Finance Pledge

Strategic partnerships and industry initiatives

In addition to collaborative engagements, we support a wide range of organisations, initiatives and industry bodies that contribute to the development of industry standards and improve best practice. Further information on these initiatives is now available on our website.

Latest insights

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Select the strategies you are interested in. Strategy update and Proxy voting can also be split out. You can then download a copy of the report by clicking on the button.

Stewart Investors Quarterly Client Update Q3 2023

1 July - 30 September 2023

Risk factors

This material is a financial promotion for the Stewart Investors Sustainable Funds Group strategies – Asia Pacific and Japan Sustainability, Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability, Asia Pacific Sustainability, European Sustainability, European (ex UK) Sustainability, Global Emerging Markets Sustainability, Global Emerging Markets Leaders Sustainability, Indian Subcontinent Sustainability, Worldwide Sustainability and Worldwide Leaders Sustainability – and is intended for professional clients only in the UK, Switzerland and EEA and professional clients elsewhere where lawful.

Within the EU/EEA and Switzerland, the European (ex UK) strategy is only available to investors via a segregated mandate account.

Investing involves certain risks including:

  • The value of investments and any income from them may go down as well as up and are not guaranteed. Investors may get back significantly less than the original amount invested.
  • Emerging market risk: Emerging markets tend to be more sensitive to economic and political conditions than developed markets. Other factors include greater liquidity risk, restrictions on investment or transfer of assets, failed/delayed settlement and difficulties valuing securities.
  • Indian Subcontinent risk: although India has seen rapid economic and structural development, investing there may still involve increased risks of political and governmental intervention, potentially limitations on the allocation of the strategy’s capital, and legal, regulatory, economic and other risks including greater liquidity risk, restrictions on investment or transfer of assets, failed/delayed settlement and difficulties valuing securities.
  • Specific region risk: investing in a specific region  may be riskier than investing in a number of different countries or regions. Investing in a larger number of countries or regions helps spread risk.
  • Currency risk: the strategies invest in assets which are denominated in other currencies; changes in exchange rates will affect the value of the strategies and could create losses. Currency control decisions made by governments could affect the value of the strategies’ investments and could cause the strategies to defer or suspend redemptions of shares.
  • Concentration risk: the European Sustainability and Worldwide Leaders Sustainability strategies referred to in this material invest in a relatively small number of companies which may be riskier than a strategy that invests in a large number of companies.
  • Smaller companies risk: investments in smaller companies may be riskier and more difficult to buy and sell than investments in larger companies.

Where featured, specific securities or companies are intended as an illustration of investment strategy only, and should not be construed as investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of our strategies for your investment needs, please seek investment advice.

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.

Important information

This material is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute investment or financial advice and does not take into account any specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. This is not an offer to provide asset management services, is not a recommendation or an offer or solicitation to buy, hold or sell any security or to execute any agreement for portfolio management or investment advisory services and this material has not been prepared in connection with any such offer. Before making any investment decision you should conduct your own due diligence and consider your individual investment needs, objectives and financial situation and read the relevant offering documents for details including the risk factors disclosure. Any person who acts upon, or changes their investment position in reliance on, the information contained in these materials does so entirely at their own risk.

We have taken reasonable care to ensure that this material is accurate, current, and complete and fit for its intended purpose and audience as at the date of publication but the information contained in the material may be subject to change thereafter without notice.

No assurance is given or liability accepted regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of this material.

To the extent this material contains any expression of opinion or forward-looking statements, such opinions and statements are based on assumptions, matters and sources believed to be true and reliable at the time of publication only. This material reflects the views of the individual writers only. Those views may change, may not prove to be valid and may not reflect the views of everyone at First Sentier Investors.

Past performance is not indicative of future performance. All investment involves risks and the value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and you may not get back your original investment. Actual outcomes or results may differ materially from those discussed. Readers must not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as there is no certainty that conditions current at the time of publication will continue. 

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.

References to comparative benchmarks or indices (if any) are for illustrative and comparison purposes only, may not be available for direct investment, are unmanaged, assume reinvestment of income, and have limitations when used for comparison or other purposes because they may have volatility, credit, or other material characteristics (such as number and types of securities) that are different from the funds managed by First Sentier Investors.

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This material is neither directed at nor intended to be accessed by persons resident in, or citizens of any country, 

or types or categories of individual where to allow such access would be unlawful or where it would require any registration, filing, application for any licence or approval or other steps to be taken by First Sentier Investors in order to  comply with local laws or regulatory requirements in such country.

About First Sentier Investors

References to ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ are references to First Sentier Investors, a global asset management business which 

is ultimately owned by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). Certain of our investment teams operate under the trading names FSSA Investment Managers, Stewart Investors and Realindex Investments, all of which are part of the First Sentier Investors Group.

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  • United Kingdom by First Sentier Investors (UK) Funds Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (reg. no. 2294743; reg office Finsbury Circus House, 15 Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 7EB).
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To the extent permitted by law, MUFG and its subsidiaries are not liable for any loss or damage as a result of reliance on any statement or information contained in this document. Neither MUFG nor any of its subsidiaries guarantee the performance of any investment products referred to in this document or the repayment of capital. Any investments referred to are not deposits or other liabilities of MUFG or its subsidiaries, and are subject to investment risk, including loss of income and capital invested.

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