The VFMC Investment Stewardship Award is judged on a national basis and recognizes the Australian investment manager and superannuation fund that have shown the greatest commitment to ESG improvements and all-round excellence in funds management.
The winner of the 2012 VFMC Investment Stewardship Award for the Investment Manager Division is Lend Lease Investment Management Australia.
Lend Lease has over 50 years experience in investment management, having launched Australia’s first unlisted property trust in 1959 and one of the nation’s leading unlisted wholesale property funds, the Australian Prime Property Fund Retail in 1989. Lend Lease’s global investment management platform spans Australia, Asia and the UK, with approximately $10.9bn (as at 30 June 2011) in assets under management via funds and joint venture agreements.
Lend Lease’s investment management business has a demonstrated commitment to ensuring environmental, social governance, risk and safety factors are an integral part of the management process of its property portfolios.
The judging panel was very impressed with the company’s commitment to sustainability and for example the emphasis on social sustainability in the Darling Quarter, a new Sydney urban generation project. The site will house not only 6000 CBA employees but will be home to a youth theatre and a public use state of the playground, which will be the largest in the Sydney CBD.
Lend Lease’s work in the areas of diversity, research, strong corporate governance show innovation and a commitment to best practice. Processes such as an Investor Review Board for each of its portfolios allow investors to directly oversee and endorse key investment decisions.
Industry Funds Management received a special commendation for their commitment to and implementation of ESG initiatives.
IFM is a world leading fund manager with over A$31 billion under management (at 31 December 2011) across four asset classes in three of the world’s largest pension markets. Investment teams in Australia, Europe and North America manage a range of strategies across Listed Equities, Debt Investments, Infrastructure and Private Equity.
IFM’s clients comprise a range of institutional investors, many of whom are also the firm’s shareholders, a structure which philosophically aligns the interests of IFM’s owners and its clients.
IFM was one of the first Australian fund managers to become a signatory to UNPRI and has lead the market in integrating ESG processes into its investment decision making. The company has a dedicated Director, Sustainability and Responsible Investment whose sole focus is on ESG.
IFMS takes a long-term approach to investments and the Research and Development program has focussed on developing listed equity strategies that can meet client mandated ESG or carbon emission criteria.
Last year’s winner of the award was Goldman Sach’s Asset Management & Partners Australia
The winner of the 2012 VFMC Investment Stewardship Award for Superannuation Funds is HESTA.
HESTA is an industry super fund, with a national presence, representing workers in the health and community services sectors. HESTA has more than 750,000 members, 100,000 employers and $18 billion in assets.
The panel of judges highlighted HESTA’s ongoing commitment to research pertaining to ESG factors and their exemplary promotion of ESG principles across the superannuation industry. For example, HESTA provides the Secretariat and Chair for ESG Research Australia and was a founding and active member of ACSI, IGCC, and Regnan.HESTA was the first major fund to introduce a responsible investment option in 2000.
Furthermore, the judging panel cited HESTA’s innovations in measuring manager performance. It was the first fund to measure and reward managers based on after-tax returns to members. HEST has also developed a unique quantitative methodology for assessing the additional cost of achieving alpha across different asset classes, which is now used for assessing every new investment introduced to the portfolio.
ACFS Director Professor Deborah Ralston stated that the number and strength of applications for both awards is a testament to the industry’s commitment to excellence. Innovation in processes and products allowed ESG and UNPRI principles to be successfully implemented to improve sustainable long-term performance.
The winner of last year’s award was Care Super.
The Melbourne Financial Services Symposium (MFSS) for over 14 years has brought together global and local industry leaders and experts to engage with funds management and superannuation professionals across industry, government and academe. The Symposium also plays host to 2 Industry Awards namely – The Victorian Innovation in Funds Management Award and the VFMC Investment Stewardship Award.
The MFSS is hosted by ACFS on behalf of the Victorian financial services community. The Symposium together with the Gala Dinner is considered the premier annual event for the Funds Management industry in Melbourne.
About the Australian Centre for Financial Studies
The Australian Centre for Financial Studies facilitates industry-relevant and rigorous research and consulting, thought leadership and independent commentary. Drawing on expertise from academia, industry and government, the Centre promotes excellence in financial services. The Centre specialises in leading edge finance and investment research, aiming to boost the global credentials of Australia’s finance industry; bridging the gap between research and industry and supporting Australia and Melbourne as an international centre for finance practice, research and education.
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Prof Deborah Ralston