AP2, CPP Investment Board, Legal & General Investment Management, MainePERS and Sarasin & Partners LLP were honored for excellence in stewardship practices for allocating and managing capital by the International Corporate Governance Network at a virtual summit Nov. 3.
ICGN represents investors with a collective $59 trillion in assets under management.
The network, whose global stewardship principles provide an international framework for investors to implement their fiduciary obligations on behalf of clients and beneficiaries, describes stewardship as focusing on long-term value creation, including the consideration of ethical, social and environmental factors and relevant systemic risks, that leads to sustainable benefits for the economy, environment and society.
The awards program, launched in 2018, involves independent judges rating nominees on their stewardship policies and design, with an emphasis on how well they are implemented. In addition to good design and accessibility, award judges look for features that make stewardship disclosures "more interesting and engaging for the reader," according to ICGN criteria.
The 2021 awards for global stewardship disclosure by asset owners below $60 billion went to Sweden's AP2, Gothenburg, with 421.2 billion Swedish kronor ($49.4 billion) in assets, and the $18 billion Maine Public Employees' Retirement System, Augusta.
The award for larger asset owners went to the C$519.6 billion ($419.4 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto. It was CPP's second time receiving the award.
Similar awards for asset managers were given to LGIM and Sarasin & Partners, both in the U.K.
ICGN members are automatically eligible to be considered for an award, and other asset owners and asset managers may nominate themselves as long as their disclosures clearly explain stewardship approaches and implementation practices.
Phil Armstrong, chairman of the awards committee, said in an announcement on the winners that this year's nominations represented increasingly widespread application of investor stewardship beyond capital markets in Europe and North America and enhanced quality.
MainePERS CIO James Bennett said in the same announcement that the pension fund “views a commitment to high standards in transparency and disclosure as the foundation on which effective stewardship of assets is built.”
Ulrika Danielsson, AP2’s head of communications and corporate governance, said the award inspires the fund “to further develop our way of disclosing what we do. Especially in times when new reporting standards are on its way that can be quite challenging.”
For Richard Manley, CPPIB’s managing director and head of sustainable investing: “Transparent and reliable disclosure is critical to maintaining and growing the trust of the 20 million Canadians we serve, as well as the trust of our global partners and peers,” he said in the announcement.