Active Super Stewardship Statement

1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020

At Active Super, our vision is to enhance the retirement income of our members.

Active Super is proud to be a signatory to the Australian Asset Owner Stewardship Code (the Code). 

Stewardship means exercising ownership rights to preserve and enhance the long-term investment value for our members. Actives Super has a well-established active ownership policy as we believe there are positive social and environmental outcomes to be gained by being a responsible, long-term focused steward of our members’ funds.

This Statement outlines how we define our commitment to the principles in this Code.

Principle 1: Asset owners should publicly disclose how they approach their stewardship responsibilities

At Active Super our stewardship responsibilities are demonstrated by our voting activity, engagement with companies (directly and collaboratively) and in the consideration of stewardship capabilities of our external asset managers.

We proactively assess stewardship capability of all asset managers in the selection and appointment phase as well as part of our annual review processes.

For more information on how we disclose our activities please refer to: 

Sustainable & Responsible Investment Policy

Active Ownership Policy

Principle 2: Asset owners should publicly disclose their policy for voting at company meetings and voting activity

At Active Super we take our ownership responsibility as a shareholder seriously. We are committed to being an active owner of our investments and believe that engaging with companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues can address potential risks across our investment portfolio. This assists our obligations to provide strong, long term returns for our members while also providing benefits to the community.

We vote on a range of issues such as climate change disclosure, board independence, remuneration, human rights and diversity.

Active Super displays leadership in public disclosure by posting voting decisions on our website before meetings. More information on our proxy voting activities, reporting and policy can be found here.

Principle 3: Asset owners should engage with companies (either directly, indirectly or both)

Our aim is to become a leader in increasing awareness and understanding of current and future ESG issues, improving governance standards and encouraging greater disclosure. We engage with the companies we invest in through a variety of channels:

  1. Directly with company Chairs, board members and senior executive management
  2. Indirectly via our asset managers, who engage with companies on our behalf
  3. Collaboratively via our service providers: Australian Council of Superannuation investors
    ACSI (domestic) and CGI Glass Lewis (international) 

Active Super is a member of ACSI, which provides proxy voting recommendations for our Australian listed equity holdings. ACSI engages directly with companies on behalf of LGS to ensure we maximise our coverage and increase influence on important member issues.

Depending upon the nature of an issue and responsiveness of a company to engagement, we may sometimes escalate engagement activities.  This may take the following form:

  1. Expressing concerns with our asset managers
  2. Submitting shareholder resolutions (co-filed)
  3. Voting against relevant proposals at annual general meetings
  4. Making a public statement or speaking at annual general meetings
  5. Exiting stocks when holding them is no longer in our member’s best interests

For more information see our: Active Ownership Policy and Proxy Voting & Engagement Report.

Principle 4: Asset owners should monitor asset managers’ stewardship activities

We employ asset managers to manage the majority of our investments.

In the selection and appointment of asset managers we assess their approach to stewardship. This includes requesting proxy voting policies, actual voting outcomes and detailed engagement data.

Comprehensive annual reviews of asset manager stewardship capabilities are performed to ensure alignment with Active Super policies. We review an asset managers’ voting activity for the relevant period, comparing it with Active Super’s voting outcomes. We engage with our asset managers to ensure we capture all information in making independent, well informed voting decisions.

Principle 5: Asset owners should encourage better alignment of the operation of the financial system and regulatory policy with the interest of long-term investors

Active Super believes in aligning the operation of the financial system and regulatory policy with the interests of long term investors. By working with other investors on key ESG issues, we will have a much greater impact on company activities and their long-term performance. 

Our industry collaboration includes being a:

  • Founding member and Board representative of the ACSI, which advocates for policy change in relation to issues such as governance and shareholder rights, climate change and ESG disclosures. See ACSI submissions.
  • Signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) since 2007. The PRI initiative is an international network of investors working together to incorporate sustainability issues into investment decision making and ownership practices.
  • Long-standing member of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the peak industry body representing responsible and ethical investors across Australia and New Zealand.
  • Founding member of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), which facilitates the inclusion of climate change impacts in investment analysis and decision making by the investment industry.
  • Supporter of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), an initiative that has developed climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies in providing information to investors, lenders, insurers and other stakeholders. The TCFD framework aims to facilitate the measurement of physical, liability and transition risks associated with climate change. 
  • Member of the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition, an initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative and CDP. It commits signatories to reduce the carbon intensity of their investments and provides knowledge exchange and stakeholder dialogue opportunities.
  • Collaborator with Women in Super by supporting various campaigns and policy stances on issues such as gender pay gap.

Principle 6: Asset owners should report to beneficiaries about their stewardship activities

We disclose comprehensive information about our responsible investment practices to our members. Some of our disclosures include: