Our People, Impact & Corporate Responsibilities | Governance | Investor relations | Liontrust Asset Management PLC

Our People, Our Impact and Our Corporate Responsibilities

Liontrust is committed to building a sustainable business and intends that our principles are embedded into our policies and practices, to the benefit of stakeholders as well as the wider community.


Our People and Culture

Liontrust is proud of our people and our culture. We believe it is our people and culture that help us to deliver our strategic objectives and the Board recognises that as a people business, it is key that we attract, retain, incentivise, develop and encourage the individuals in our company to continue to meet and surpass our current and future objectives. Our aim is to have a stable and engaged workforce, and our average number of years’ service is greater than 5 years across the business and rising with seniority.

We engage with our staff, encouraging active Liontrust equity participation and promoting ownership, accountability and responsibility for their contribution to Liontrust’s success. We maintain a remuneration philosophy and approach that continues to promote a strong customer centric culture, as well as risk awareness and performance with a good alignment of staff and shareholder interests.

Liontrust aims to address the needs and aspirations of all staff through the continuing development of diversity, work- life balance and health and well-being policies and initiatives.

Liontrust maintains a code of ethics that all staff must adhere to and adopted the CFAI Asset Manager Code, a voluntary code of conduct to help asset managers practice ethical principles that put client interests first.

Annual report 2018 - Average years service

All staff have the opportunity to participate in a pension arrangement. Employees are encouraged to become involved in the financial performance of the group through a Share Incentive Plan. We provide health and well-being initiatives including private medical cover, annual medical examinations to all staff and a confidential advice service.

All our staff (including cleaning staff and temporary staff) receive at least the London Living rate per hour and Liontrust does not use zero hour contracts.

Liontrust recognises the importance of an appropriate work-life balance, both to the health and welfare of employees and to the business.

We are committed to providing our talented staff with opportunities to develop their capabilities. We make substantial and sustainable investments in the development of our people, and regularly review the relevance and outcomes of this training. We also encourage our employees to take business relevant qualifications and offer support packages. Our investment professionals are required to achieve standards above the regulatory minimum with a particular focus on the Chartered Financial Analyst qualifications for investment staff.

We have continued to add talented people, investing in our performance and data teams and expanding our marketing and sales to improve our service to our new and existing clients.

Over the last year we have worked on our succession planning for directors and key executives drawing up a framework for systematically identifying and reviewing potential successors and focusing on providing them with appropriate managerial and leadership training.

As a fast growing business, we are aware of the efforts required to maintain our culture and to ensure our key values are instilled throughout the business. As we continue to grow, we keep working on aligning our values and culture and this is reinforced with how senior staff behave and operate in the day-to-day business. We are developing a programme of anonymous staff surveys to measure engagement, culture and values over this financial year. 


Equal Opportunities, Diversity and Inclusion

Liontrust believes that its people should be appointed to their roles based on skills, merit and performance and makes all appointments within the guidelines of its equal opportunities policy. We are an equal opportunities employer and it is our policy to ensure that all job applicants and employees are treated fairly and on merit regardless of their race, gender, marital status, age, disability, religious belief or sexual orientation. Where possible, we monitor the ethnicity, age and gender composition of our workforce and those applying for jobs.

Although we are proud of our people, there is also a recognition of the importance of diversity, including gender, and the benefits that further diversity would bring to the Board and Group. The Board is committed to ensuring its composition is appropriate for the business and that staff and candidates should possess the broad range of skills, expertise, industry knowledge, and other experience necessary for the effective oversight and management of the Group. As part of our commitment, we are active members of the 30% club and have included support for similar levels of diversity in our voting policies for the companies we invest in.

 
 2019  Male    Female
 Directors   6  1
 Members of LLPs  28  3
 Employees  52  33


Liontrust’s current gender balance is broadly 70:30/male:female. Liontrust is not required to publish its gender pay gap (the percentage male employees overall are paid more than female employees), however analysis has been carried out and it is more than the average for the financial services sector.

Liontrust has a remuneration policy that aims to reward staff equally for doing equivalent jobs, at an identical level of performance and experience. The gap is due to the structure of our staff, in particular because we have more male fund managers than female and more men in our senior management and sales teams. The Board have acknowledged that although this is typical of the financial industry as a whole, we should do better. To address this, senior management have been defining our aspirations and identifying the strategies; the policy changes; and the culture changes that will be required to address the gender balance and gap at Liontrust. We have also added explicit gender diversity targets into the remuneration and performance targets of the executive directors to help ensure that change happens.

As an example of our work, we have set up graduate and intern schemes which aim to attract more young women into the industry, as well as having a good gender mix of candidates in all recruitment, removing all male recruitment processes, providing training to staff on diversity, reviewing our policies to remove unconscious bias and encourage diversity and offering flexible maternity, paternity and shared parental leave and flexible working policies to help support staff with children. We expect the gender pay and bonus gaps between female and male employees to gradually decline as we recruit and develop senior female talent across the business but the Board are working on supporting this change to transition the business more quickly.


Our impact

Liontrust seeks to achieve a positive impact on society and the world. We are committed to the principles of good governance, positive social impact and are aware of our environmental, social and governance responsibilities (ESG) and we intend that these should become embedded, where appropriate, into our policies and practices, to the benefit of stakeholders as well as the wider community. We aim to be recognised as an organisation that is transparent and ethical in all our dealings as well as making a positive contribution to the community in which we operate.

Liontrust is committed to the following core values in all aspects of its work, including the fulfilment of its social responsibility:

  • Clear direction and strong leadership;
  • Customer focus and treating customers fairly;
  • Working to deliver good customer outcomes;
  • Open communication and transparency;
  • Commitment to the highest ethical standards and good stewardship of our clients’ investments;
  • Positive contribution to our community and environment;
  • Respect for people and the development of positive working relationships with others; and
  • Valuing and harnessing the equality and the diversity of Liontrust members and employees.

Liontrust has agreed a clear vision statement, has developed a business model and strategy to implement this vision and has the leadership structure in place to do so. We have a client focused culture with the aim of treating customers fairly (TCF) at the heart of what we do. TCF is a core FCA principle, which promotes fair treatment of clients in all we do. We recognise that there may be occasions where there is a conflict of interests between us and others and we have a policy to manage these including disclosure to clients. We publish all our governance documents and policies on our intranet to allow all staff to easily access them and many of them to our wider stakeholders on our company website to ensure our approach is clear, detailed and transparent.


Stewardship for our investments

Liontrust recognises that good governance & stewardship, sustainability and social impact is important to stock selection and longer term performance. Liontrust’s proprietary investment processes integrate these factors into the stock selection and portfolio construction process to different extents and we are seeking to co-ordinate and enhance this process throughout all portfolios. Following our acquisition of the sustainable investment focused company Alliance Trust Investments Limited, we have continued to invest in additional, specialist resources to increase our commitment to integrating ESG factors including controversy reporting and climate metrics into our investment processes and risk analysis with dedicated governance and stewardship staff. Over a third of our assets are managed by the Sustainable Investment team who fully integrate ESG issues into their investments and we continue to develop and launch new funds to meet client demand for a more sustainable investment approach.

Liontrust is committed to the Financial Reporting Council’s Stewardship Code. For further details on Liontrust’s response to the Stewardship code and how Liontrust complies with the responsibilities laid out in the code, please visit our website.

From 1 April 2018, Liontrust signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), a set of voluntary guidelines that help companies to address social, ethical, environmental and corporate governance issues as part of the investment process. The Sustainable Investment team have been signatories for a number of years but we have committed to covering all of Liontrust’s investment funds.

We have engaged MSCI to provide us with ESG analytics for all of our investments to ensure we are aware of controversial holdings and to allow us to engage with companies where we believe this is appropriate. The chart below shows the distribution of the ESG ratings of our holdings as at 31 March 2019 which shows an improving average score from last year:

ESG rating distribution

* ’Not Rated’ shows the percentage of the portfolios that are invested in companies that do not have an ESG rating from MSCI, i.e. outside of their coverage, mainly due to size or location of the company.


Human Rights and Slavery

Liontrust has committed to the preservation of human rights. Liontrust is vehemently opposed to the use of slavery in all forms; cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments; and any attempt to control or reduce freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Liontrust will not knowingly enter into any business arrangement with any person, company or organisation which fails to uphold the human rights of its workers or who breach the human rights of those affected by the organisation’s activities. For further information, we publish our Corporate Social Responsibility policy and a statement on the Modern Slavery Act on our website.


Purchasing, Procurement and Bribery

Liontrust is committed to adhering to the highest standards of business conduct; compliance with the law and regulatory requirements; and best practice. The Group has established an anti-bribery policy to aid Liontrust’s partners/directors, employees and associated persons in ensuring that they comply at all times with relevant anti-bribery laws. In implementing this policy, the Group demonstrates its commitment to preventing bribery, and establishing a zero-tolerance approach to bribery in all parts of our operations. We also perform an annual bribery risk assessment.

Liontrust is committed to procuring its works, goods and services in an ethically and environmentally sensitive way, yet with proper regard to its commercial obligations, ensuring that suppliers deliver to agreed timescales, quality and cost. Purchasing is undertaken in a manner that encourages competition, and offers fair and objective evaluation of offers from all potential suppliers. Any significant transaction or agreement is reviewed by the Board.


Tax

Liontrust aims to pay the appropriate levels of tax in a timely manner and this means that we comply with our tax filing, reporting and payment obligations globally. We have developed a formal tax strategy to detail how tax risks are managed including governance, systems and controls, Board oversight and our attitude to tax planning.

We perform a tax evasion risk assessment and have reviewed our procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. We do not tolerate tax evasion, nor do we tolerate the facilitation of tax evasion by any person(s) acting on the Group’s behalf.


Financial Crime and Cybersecurity

Liontrust is committed to the prevention and detection of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption, tax evasion and fraud. Liontrust has set up a separate committee to deal with financial crime and cyber threats which oversees all aspects of the Group’s financial crime prevention activities including policies and procedures. These measures are designed to ensure we comply with all applicable laws. All members of the Group undertake regular financial crime prevention training which includes more detailed anti-money laundering and insider trading aspects for some of our staff.

Cybersecurity has remained a key focus for us over the last twelve months. A governance structure overseeing information security with a nominated responsible Board member is in place. The Board has received specialist training this year on the threats and challenges and all company staff receive regular training to keep their skills up to date and to help maintain threat awareness. We continue to use third party specialists to help define, test and review our security arrangements at least annually with internal and external penetration testing happening a number of times a year. Liontrust have included certain cybersecurity extensions to our comprehensive crime insurance policy to provide additional cover in line with a standard cyber insurance policy.


Environment and Sustainability

Liontrust believes that businesses are responsible for achieving good environmental practice and operating in a sustainable manner. We are therefore committed to minimising our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance as an integral and fundamental part of our business strategy and operating methods. Liontrust is not a significant producer of emissions, and we consider our direct climaterelated impact to be limited. Liontrust has put in place an environmental policy that details the key points of our strategy on the environment and this is available on our website. Our target is to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions intensity per member of staff each year.

As part of our counterparty selection and review process, we encourage our suppliers, service providers and all business associates to do the same and where appropriate we have obtained the environmental policies of these counterparties. Not only is this sound commercial sense for all; it is also a matter of delivering on our duty of care towards future generations.


Environmental KPIs Commercial Waste

Liontrust aims to minimise its commercial waste and to recycle as much of its commercial waste as possible, with any non-recyclable items being incinerated to produce energy. In the year to 31 March 2019, Liontrust recycled 9,500kg of materials saving 13,700kg of CO2 (year to 31 March 2018: 13,000kg, 20,000kg CO2).


Emissions Intensity per member of staff

Using the most recent data available from our landlords, we have identified an emissions intensity per member of staff (employees and members) of 0.67 tC02 per annum (2018: 0.71 tCO2 per annum).

All of the electricity supplied to the UK offices is provided from green suppliers.

The Health and Safety committee monitors the KPIs as part of their review of the ESG policy.


Charitable Giving

Liontrust’s Sponsorship and Charitable Donations Policy ensures that all donations, sponsorship and employee/member volunteer activities align with our corporate social responsibility policy and business goals. Generally, Liontrust will not make contributions to certain causes or activities; these include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Political parties;
  • Faith related causes, organisations or activities; and
  • Where a conflict arises between Liontrust and its Clients.

Sponsorship and charitable donations are normally for small sums of money by way of single donations with larger or ongoing payments requiring approval by the Board of Liontrust. Over the last 12 months, staff have fundraised for a number of charities and amounts were matched by Liontrust. We are proud to support our staff in this way.

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