Responsible Investing Policy
Parametric believes that most capital markets are highly efficient and that risk control, diversification, and careful cost management can make or break long-term investment success. Accordingly, we offer transparent, rules-based portfolio solutions that don’t require tactical insights into valuations or market direction and that take a long-term view on a broad, global set of publicly traded equities.
This long-term view provides impetus for us to encourage good corporate governance practices that benefit shareholders while continuing to deliver the underlying strategy return. That’s why our approach to responsible investing focuses on exercising ownership rights, reserving specialized portfolio construction techniques primarily for client-directed mandates in separately managed accounts.
In this document we outline our philosophy of responsible investing as well as the oversight we apply to this discipline, the approach we take, our commitment to reporting, and our affiliations.
In our view good governance includes a consideration of the environmental and social impact of a company’s activities. We believe this helps both reduce unnecessary risks and improve the company’s competitive position. We acknowledge that some aspects of a company’s operations may be difficult to quantify, forecast, and therefore embed into a company’s valuation.
Our response to this is to encourage companies to take reasonable steps to provide greater transparency to the market around these issues and to rectify clear lapses in oversight rather than necessarily seeking out or avoiding companies based on perceived mispricing. We believe this approach can help strengthen companies, protect shareholder capital, and benefit economies and communities.
Responsible investing is a firmwide capability at Parametric. It applies to all our equity-based portfolios and isn’t restricted to a subset of products or employees. The firm has established a dedicated team to implement this policy under the chief investment officer, but all employees are expected to be familiar with Parametric’s philosophy, approach, and available ESG data.
Parametric’s Stewardship Committee, made up of senior employees at the firm, translates our views on good corporate governance into our ownership practices and oversees the communication of these activities to investors and companies. Our primary mechanism for this is proxy voting. Parametric’s Proxy Voting Guidelines are applied consistently, regardless of portfolio construction, wherever we have voting authority.
With regard to ESG incorporation, portfolios are managed by the same portfolio managers and teams and with similar oversight structure as those without any ESG incorporation.
Parametric’s active ownership practices focus on proxy voting. We don’t engage directly with companies or file shareholder resolutions on our own behalf. We may support certain collaborative engagements when we believe they’re in the best interest of our investors and are consistent with our views on corporate governance.
Parametric’s Proxy Voting Guidelines are designed to encourage high ESG standards and to safeguard investor capital over the long run. We do this by supporting qualified, independent boards that show accountability to shareholders and responsiveness to prudent and relevant shareholder proposals. In this effort we consider the work of recognized corporate governance experts, outside research providers, and collaborative investor groups. We follow these guidelines when voting any accounts at Parametric for which we have voting authority.
Parametric’s long-standing and well-established portfolio management practices allow us to incorporate ESG considerations into any separately managed equity portfolio at the client’s request. These practices have evolved through more than 20 years of practice and are intended to help us respond to each client’s unique requirements. Through screens, quantitative integration techniques, or both, Parametric takes a rules-based approach to ESG incorporation, and we subscribe to hundreds of ESG metrics we can use for this purpose. Absent client specification, no ESG incorporation is applied.
Parametric publishes summary proxy-voting reporting for six US registered mutual funds subadvised by Parametric for Eaton Vance Management and its affiliates on our website and publishes corporate governance expectations of the companies we invest in. We also provide account-level reporting that includes summary information on the ESG characteristics of the underlying companies, tailored to the specific client mandate. This information is made available only to the beneficiary owners of the account.
In 2018 Parametric joined the Council of Institutional Investors, the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to participate in the broader conversation around responsible investing and help fulfill our clients’ needs more effectively. We selected these groups based on their compatibility with our investment philosophy and activities.
Also in 2018 Parametric became an independent signatory to the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Investment. Previously we were a signatory through the affiliation with our parent company, Eaton Vance Corporation, which became a signatory in 2015.