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 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. 

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This information is a financial promotion for the Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Strategy intended for retail and professional clients in the UK only.

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.
  • Currency risk: the Fund invests in assets which are denominated in other currencies; changes in exchange rates will affect the value of the Fund and could create losses. Currency control decisions made by governments could affect the value of the Fund's investments and could cause the Fund to defer or suspend redemptions of its shares.
  • 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.
  • Concentration risk: the Fund invests in a relatively small number of companies which may be riskier than a fund that invests in a large number of 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.

For a full description of the terms of investment and the risks please see the Prospectus and Key Investor Information Document.

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

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 USD3 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.

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Stewart Investors Quarterly Client Update Q4 2022

1 October - 31 December 2022

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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Not all First Sentier Investors products are available in all jurisdictions.

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.

This material may not be copied or reproduced in whole or in part, and in any form or by any means circulated without the prior written consent of First Sentier Investors.

We communicate and conduct business through different legal entities in different locations. This material is communicated in:

  • 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).
  • European Economic Area by First Sentier Investors (Ireland) Limited, authorised and regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI reg no. C182306; reg office 70 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland; reg company no. 629188).
  • Other jurisdictions, where this document may lawfully be issued, by First Sentier Investors International IM Limited, authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (reg. no. 122512; reg office 23 St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 1BB; regcompany no. SC079063).

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.

© 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.

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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

Fund prices and details

Click on the links below to access key facts, literature, performance and portfolio information for the funds and share classes available in this jurisdiction:

Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund

Overview of Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Fund performance

Fund name Fund type Currency Price Daily change Price date
Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Class A (Acc) OEIC GBP 616.36 2.46 03 Feb 2023
Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Class B (Acc) OEIC GBP 727.55 2.46 03 Feb 2023
Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Class I (Acc) IRVCC USD 16.69 1.62 03 Feb 2023
Stewart Investors Worldwide Leaders Sustainability Class III (Acc) IRVCC USD 13.95 1.62 03 Feb 2023

Share prices are calculated on a forward pricing basis which means that the price at which you buy or sell will be calculated at the next valuation point after the transaction is placed. Where a fund price is marked XD, this means that the fund is currently Ex-Dividend. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance. The value of shares and income from them may go down as well as up and is not guaranteed. Please note that the yield quoted above is not the historic yield. It is considered that the yield quoted represents the current position of investments, income and expenses in the fund and that this is a more accurate figure. Investors may be subject to tax on their distribution. The yield is not guaranteed or representative of future yields. You should be aware that any currency movements could affect the value of your investment. The Funds within the First Sentier Investors Global Umbrella Fund plc (Irish VCC) are denominated in USD or EUR.