Fiera Capital’s 2020 Responsible Investment Report

Published August 9, 2021
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Fiera Capital has recently released their Responsible Investment Report showing how they have continued to develop their responsible investment solutions to help clients meet their own sustainability goals.

Foreword by Jean-Guy Desjardins, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

At Fiera Capital, acting responsibly has always been one of our fundamental guiding principles, both as an organization and as an asset manager.

As stewards of capital, we manage assets on behalf of our clients who entrust us with great responsibility. Through this important role, we efficiently allocate capital in order to generate long-term positive outcomes that extend well beyond enhancing risk-adjusted returns. As efficient capital allocators advocating for sound governance and ethical business practices from the companies we invest in around the world, we can and must contribute to creating a more sustainable future. This, in turn, will enable economies and societies to thrive and prosper.

Our commitment to responsible and sustainable investment practices has been journey of close to 20 years and we continue to raise the bar year after year ever since we implemented our first proxy voting policy. Since then, we have continued to develop our responsible investment solutions to help clients meet their own sustainability goals.

Sustainability is increasingly at the centre of Fiera Capital’s investment approach and further embedded in our entire investment process, in line with the growing demand from clients for access to a broad range of environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused investment solutions. In addition to our full spectrum of responsible investing solutions, we are also able to integrate ESG principles into most of our investment strategies, from screening out specific sectors to proactively seeking out investments which will generate a positive social and/or environmental impact.

Our engagement towards responsible investment is also based on our strong conviction that organizations that understand and successfully manage their material ESG factors and associated risks tend to create more resilient, higher quality businesses and assets, and are therefore better positioned to deliver sustainable value over the long term.

At Fiera Capital, we owe much of our success to our investment teams who are highly accountable for the decisions they make. They have the necessary autonomy and flexibility to best assess materiality and integrate ESG factors in a manner that best suits their investment style or asset class. We believe this approach creates more meaningful engagement with companies we invest in on behalf of our clients with respect to sound governance and business practices, in addition to reinforcing a culture of continuous learning and improvement throughout our firm.

Our rigorous approach to risk management is also embedded in our investment processes to achieve optimal performance within an appropriate level of risk. While aiming to generate the best returns possible for our clients, we never lose sight of their chosen risk profile, goals and ambitions.

Looking ahead, we will continue to put the full strength of our organization behind our responsible investing  approach and adopt best practices as they emerge, including SASB Standards and those of the Impact Management Project. They will serve as frameworks to guide our ability to identify material sustainability issues. As an early signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment we will continue to look for innovative ways to fulfil our responsibilities and to ensure that our investment practices continuously evolve.

As climate change tipping points loom closer than ever, our focus and investments over the next few years will largely be placed on getting better resources and tools to help identify and mitigate climate change-related risks. This includes the risks associated with transitioning to the green economy and the physical risks of the potential impacts of climate change.

We believe companies that exhibit an efficient use of resources – such as waste reduction or lower energy use – will positively impact corporate performance over time, resulting in higher margins and lower capital requirements.

We will also invest to streamline and standardize our internal processes, including automated technology solutions and leveraging our in-house data management expertise, to support long-term value creation and assess climate change risks.

We will be looking closely at the recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures to further develop our understanding of how our investments impact and are impacted by climate change. In 2021, we joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, and committed to working proactively towards the goal of our investment strategies being managed in line with achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Our ability to address ESG issues and global challenges collectively is more important than ever. With every investment decision, we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of responsible investing and to creating a sustainable future and a better world for all.