At Active Super, our vision is to enhance the retirement income of our members.
Stewardship Statement - July 2023
What is Stewardship
Stewardship is the act of exercising our rights as investors, to preserve and enhance the long-term financial outcomes of our investments on behalf of our members.
We are a proud signatory of the Australian Asset Owner Stewardship Code (the Code). This Code consists of six principles and our Stewardship Statement outlines how we implement them.
This Statement also explains how we define our commitment to the Code by increasing transparency and accountability of our stewardship activities.
Active Super also has a robust Active Ownership Policy, as we believe there are positive outcomes to be gained by being a responsible, long-term steward of our members’ funds. Both our Stewardship Statement and our Active Ownership Policy should be read in conjunction with our Responsible Investment Policy. All documents are available at activesuper.com.au
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 engage with the companies we invest in to encourage better corporate governance and responsible investing practices in support of long-term performance.
Our investment managers are a key component of our stewardship activities. When we select new managers, and as part of our regular review processes for existing managers, we proactively assess their capability to contribute to our stewardship priorities.
For more information on how we disclose our activities please refer to our Responsible Investment and Active Ownership Policies at: Latest reports and policies | Active Super
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 and environment.
We vote on a range of issues including, but not limited to, climate change, board independence, diversity, remuneration and human rights.
We generally post our voting decisions on our website before AGM meetings occur (click here to see how we voted). More information on our proxy voting activities (including share lending(1)), reporting and policy can be found here
Principle 3: Asset owners should engage with companies (either directly, indirectly or both)
We engage with the companies we invest in on ESG issues, through a variety of channels:
- Indirectly via our asset managers, who engage with companies on our behalf
- Collaboratively via our service providers: Australian Council of Superannuation investors ACSI (for Australian companies) and CGI Glass Lewis (for international companies)
- In conjunction with industry bodies such as Climate Action 100+, Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) and IGCC
- Directly with company Chairs, Board members and senior executive management
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 Active Super and other asset owners, to ensure we maximise our coverage on important member issues.
Depending upon the nature of an issue and responsiveness of a company to engagement, we may sometimes escalate engagement activities. Options that we may consider include:
- Voting against relevant proposals at annual general meetings
- Expressing concerns with our asset managers
- Submitting shareholder resolutions
- Making a public statement or speaking at annual general meetings
- Exiting stocks when holding them is no longer in our member’s best interests
Engagements with companies lead to outcomes such as improved ESG reporting, commitments to net zero and a focus on Diversity and Inclusion as well as Modern Slavery.
For more information see our: Active Ownership Policy and Proxy Voting & Engagement Report at Latest reports and policies | Active Super.
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 may include reviewing their proxy voting policies, actual voting outcomes and engagement data.
We may also review an asset managers’ voting activity for the relevant period, as it relates to specific ESG issues we consider important to our members.
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 and collaborators on key ESG issues, we have a greater impact on company activities and their long-term performance.
Our industry collaboration includes being a:
- Founding member and Board representative of 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.
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:
- Live proxy voting records of how we vote on all company meetings. Click here to view our Proxy and Engagement Report
- Responsible investment reporting page on our website includes: ESG and Carbon Footprint Reports; Modern Slavery Statement
- Reports including the Climate Transparency Report 2021
- Asset Owners’ Disclosure Project
- Annual Report 2022
Please click here to download a copy of our Stewardship Statement.
(1) Active Super engages in agency lending, although this is a negligible percentage of funds under management. If recalled, the immaterial size of holdings would not meaningfully affect voting outcomes.