Rathbone Greenbank Review Spring 2018

The past few months have been significant for Rathbone Greenbank Investments as our funds under management passed the £1 billion mark for the first time in September 2017.

Agriculture approaching forest - Rathbone Investment Management

We are very grateful to our many clients for placing their trust in us — whether as private individuals, trustees or professional advisers. As a team, and with your ongoing support, we will continue to work to the best of our ability to deliver the returns our clients seek within the ethical and sustainable investment framework that is core to our approach.

We have not been resting on our laurels since reaching our milestone! In fact we have been more active than ever across a wide range of social and environmental issues, using our privileged position as an investment manager to act as a force for positive change. Along with our usual annual engagement review, we include a summary of our activity over the past four years in the centre of the Review.

Also in this edition we look at some of the issues around insecure work and pay, which will be the theme of our Investor Day this year. We will question whether zero-hours contracts and the emergence of the ‘gig’ economy are contributing to rising underemployment.

The sight and smell of smouldering, fractured trees and earth stripped bare through the illegal logging of pristine rainforests is still etched in my memory from time spent in Borneo in the early 1990s. The depletion of our global forests is a tragic situation. Not just in terms of the less tangible social and cultural value that they provide but also from the perspective of the critical resource they offer as a defence against climate change. We also consider the economic and investment implications of this devastation and look at ways we can do more to protect environments that were thousands of years in the making.

In November, we were honoured to be invited to attend the Faith in Finance conference in Zug, Switzerland. The world’s faiths are custodians of trillions of dollars in assets and the conference sought to encourage a shift from traditional avoidance screening of ‘sin’ stocks to investing with more positive impact.

Like religion, politics also plays a major role in ensuring that capital is deployed and managed responsibly; we review the measures designed to promote environmentally-friendly policies and sustainability goals announced in the chancellor of the exchequer’s budget speech last autumn.

Similarly, we consider where global climate talks go next. President Trump’s promotion of coal as a solution to climate change stands in stark contrast to the efforts of a broad coalition of US states, cities and businesses to reduce their fossil fuel emissions in line with US obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Finally, we look at the problem of fixed odds betting terminals and their links to the large numbers of people now classified as problem gamblers. We remain vocal in our support of the introduction of greatly reduced maximum stakes.

I hope that you enjoy reading this edition of our Review.

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