A Letter of Introduction From The Portfolio Managers
At Brown Advisory, we are deeply committed to sustainable investing, with the goal of helping clients generate attractive investment returns, align their investments with their values and make a positive impact on society with their capital. As of Dec. 31, 2019, our firm managed more than $6 billion* in client assets under various sustainable investment mandates for individuals, families and institutions.
Our primary starting point investigating how each business serves their customer naturally leads to a philosophical focus on positive ESG factors. Nonetheless over the past five years the Global Leaders team has increased this meaningfully by working with our internal ESG team to help codify sustainable thinking into our research by seeking to incorporate both ESG offence, using the Sustainable Business Advantage Drivers (or “SBA Drivers”) framework developed by our U.S. Large-Cap Sustainable Growth team, and defence through ESG risk assessments. As such, ESG research is now an essential part of the Global Leaders investment strategy. We believe it helps us make intelligent choices about investments and engage with company management teams on a wide variety of important topics that may impact their long-term prospects.
Enclosed is our inaugural ESG Transparency Report. The report reviews how we seek to invest using sustainability research and look for companies with what we view as SBA Drivers and strong ESG risk management. It also discusses the environmental and social benefits that we believe are being created by our portfolio companies, looks at how we engage with portfolio companies and our involvement with the broader sustainable investing community.
We are pleased to report continued advancement of our firm’s sustainable investment initiatives. In 2019, we expanded our ESG research team to five full-time analysts with the addition of Lisa Abraham and Victoria Avara. We ramped up engagement activity with company management teams and refined our proxy voting process. We issued Brown Advisory’s first corporate sustainability report, in which we strive to answer the same questions about ourselves that we ask of other companies before we invest in them.
We thank our ESG research team for its contribution to this report and our work in general. The ESG team has helped us lift our research standards by introducing us to and incorporating positive SBA Drivers as well as ESG risk assessments into our process. We are proud to be able to show in this report where they have helped take us on this journey. The team works tirelessly to help ensure that our investment decisions are informed by solid ESG data and how that may affect each company’s prospects. We thank our fundamental equity research colleagues, and all of our colleagues across the firm, for embracing sustainable investing principles so enthusiastically. Most importantly, we are deeply grateful to our clients, who trust us as stewards of their capital and serve as our partners as we learn, innovate and improve over time.
We hope you find this year’s report informative, and we welcome a continuing conversation with you about the work we are doing.
Mick Dillon, CFA
Bertie Thomson, CFA
*Brown Advisory entities included are: Brown Advisory LLC, Brown Investment Advisory & Trust Company, Brown Advisory Ltd., and Brown Advisory Trust Company of Delaware, LLC.