Kames Capital

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Our ethical credentials

The Kames Ethical Equity Fund was launched in April 1989. Since then we have launched ethical corporate bond and multi-asset funds as well as a global sustainable fund and now manage £2.5bn* in ethical and sustainable mandates.  We're proud to be a leader in specialist ethical and sustainable investing.

 

In recent years we have collected several awards for our ethical funds. We were particularly pleased to win the Best Ethical Investment Fund Group Award at the 2017 Sustainable Investment Awards having previously won the same award in 2015.

 

We are distinctive among fund providers both in our commitment to ethical and sustainable investing – many providers have closed their funds – and in offering and continuing to develop such a broad suite of ethical and sustainable products.

 

Here is a reminder of why our ethical and sustainable proposition has achieved such longevity and a loyal following: 

  • Our funds apply strict ethical principles

    All three ethical funds we manage are designed to meet the needs of clients who wish to make investment decisions based on strong ethical principles. These are often referred to as ‘dark green’ funds, with ethical screening criteria which are clear and unambiguous.

  • We're committed to the ethical market

    Today we manage over £2.5 billion* in specialist ethical and sustainable investments and we aim to be a leader in responsible investment. At a time when some investment businesses are cutting back, we have publicly reaffirmed our commitment to managing specialist ethical and sustainable portfolios and launched a new global sustainable fund in 2016.

*Source Kames Capital, as at 31 December 2017. Past performance is not a guide to future returns.

Team

The ethical research team is independent from the fund management teams that build our ethical portfolios. The ethical research team plays a critical role in the success of the funds by managing the screening process in which the potential investment universe is created for the fund management teams.

Corporate Governance

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

Head of ESG Research

Ryan Smith
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Ryan Smith

Head of ESG Research

Ryan Smith is Head of ESG Research. He joined Kames Capital in October 2000 as an SRI analyst and was appointed to his current position in September 2002. He has 18 years’ industry experience*. His role involves managing the team that conducts the ESG screening process for our Responsible Investing funds. Ryan’s team also provides corporate governance screening and research for all equity investments, and conducts research into environmental and social issues. Before joining us, he worked as an environmental chemist for Severn Trent Water. Ryan has an MSc in Environmental Chemistry from Nottingham Trent University and is a CFA charterholder.

*As at 30 June 2018.

Miranda Beacham

Miranda Beacham

Corporate Governance Manager

Miranda Beacham
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Miranda Beacham

Corporate Governance Manager

Miranda Beacham is Corporate Governance Manager in the ESG Research team. She is responsible for monitoring, engaging and voting of investee companies in line with our Responsible Investment Policy. She joined us in 1994 as a research assistant in the UK equity team and has 24 years’ industry experience*. Miranda studied Chemistry at Napier University and has the IMC professional qualification.

*As at 30 June 2018.

Fund managers

Audrey Ryan

Audrey Ryan

Investment Manager, UK Equities

Audrey Ryan
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Audrey Ryan

Investment Manager, UK Equities

Audrey Ryan is an investment manager in the UK Equities team with responsibility for managing several funds. In addition, Audrey has analysis duties for the travel & leisure sector, and is a small-cap specialist. She joined us in 1997 from General Accident where she was a UK small companies portfolio manager. Audrey studied Accounting at Napier University, is a qualified chartered accountant and has an MSc in Investment Analysis. She has 23 years’ industry experience*.

*As at 30 June 2018.

Euan McNeil

Euan McNeil

Investment Manager, Fixed Income

Euan McNeil
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Euan McNeil

Investment Manager, Fixed Income

Euan McNeil is an investment manager in the Fixed Income team. He specialises in investment grade credit and co-manages two investment grade bond funds as well as several institutional portfolios. Euan joined us in 2003 from Britannic Asset Management, where he worked in the corporate bond team. Prior to that, he was an international equities manager at Blairlogie Capital Management. Euan studied International Business and French at the University of Strathclyde and has an MSc in Investment Analysis from the University of Stirling. He has 20 years’ industry experience*. 

*As at 30 June 2018.

Iain Buckle

Iain Buckle

Investment Manager, Fixed Income

Iain Buckle
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Iain Buckle

Investment Manager, Fixed Income

Iain Buckle is an investment manager in the Fixed Income team with responsibility for credit analysis, particularly securitised and structured finance assets. Iain is the co-manager of several funds with a primary focus on sterling credit mandates. His funds include pooled and segregated mandates and included in our ethical bond franchise. As an experienced investment manager Iain is responsible for overseeing the institutional pooled and buy-and-hold portfolios managed across the team. Iain joined us in 2000 from Baillie Gifford where he was a fixed income analyst, and has 21 years’ industry experience*. He studied Economics at Heriot Watt University.

*As at 30 June 2018.

Elaine Morgan

Elaine Morgan

Investment Manager, UK Equities

Elaine Morgan
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Elaine Morgan

Investment Manager, UK Equities

Elaine Morgan is an investment manager in the UK Equities team with responsibility for managing several funds. In addition, Elaine has analysis duties for the construction, household goods, software & computer services and renewables sectors, and is a small-cap specialist. She joined us in 1988 straight from the University of Edinburgh, where she studied Economics with Law, and gained her IIMR qualification in 1990. She has 30 years’ industry experience*.

*As at 30 June 2018.

Screening process

All three of Kames Capital’s ethical funds apply the same ‘negative’ screen. This means that we screen companies out of the potential investment universe based on certain unacceptable activities. Because we apply stringent screening criteria, our funds are considered ‘dark green’. We do not screen out whole sectors, but some may largely be excluded because of the nature of their business activities.

Our screening criteria are clear and explicit. Certain ethical issues, however, are not black or white. Our 26 years’ experience of managing ethical investments means we can consider these issues appropriately when they arise.

We do not apply ‘positive screening’ criteria like some other funds. The funds may invest in themes that could be considered ‘socially responsible’, like alternative energy or social housing companies, but only if these companies pass our negative screens.

We aim for transparency in our screening process. This means it is easy for clients to understand the types of companies we exclude. Our underlying philosophy is to avoid companies that cause significant negative effects in society or the environment. 

We use both external screening databases and in-house research to ensure companies meet our ethical criteria and are suitable for investment. Our Corporate Governance team focuses on the screening and research, freeing our fund managers to focus solely on stock selection and portfolio construction.

Screening criteria

Our ‘dark green’ screen is ideally suited to investors looking for a more stringent ethical philosophy. It adopts a negative approach that screens companies out of our funds’ potential investment universe if they engage in certain unacceptable activities. Examples of our screening process are shown below.

  • Animal welfare

    • provide animal testing services or manufacture or sell animal-tested cosmetics, household products or pharmaceuticals
    • have any involvement in intensive farming
    • operate abattoirs or slaughterhouse facilities
    • are producers or retailers of meat, poultry, fish or dairy products or slaughterhouse by-products

  • Military

    • manufacture armaments, nuclear weapons or associated strategic products

  • Nuclear power

    • provide critical services to, or own or operate, nuclear facilities

  • Environment

    • are involved in activities which are commonly held to be environmentally unsound – specifically manufacturers of PVC, Ozone Depleting Chemicals and hazardous pesticides
    • are in breach of internationally recognised conventions on biodiversity and companies in energy intensive industries which are not tackling the issue of climate change

  • Political Donations

    • have made political donations of more than £25,000 in the last year

  • Genetic Engineering

    • have patented genes

  • Gambling

    • have investments in betting shops, casinos or amusement arcades accounting for more than 10% of their total business

  • Alcohol

    • derive more than 10% of their total business through involvement in brewing, distillation or sale of alcoholic drinks

  • Tobacco

    • derive more than 10% of their business from the growing, processing or sale of tobacco products

  • Pornography

    • provide adult entertainment services

  • Banks

    • are corporate or international banks with exposure to large corporate or Third World debt

  • Oppressive Regimes

    • operate in countries with poor human rights records, and which have no established management policies on human rights issues.

Research tools

We conduct our own in-house research to support ethical screening. Our team focuses on detailed analysis of high-impact sectors such as mining, oil and gas and chemicals. We also publish sub-sector level reports, which detail the impacts and issues, operational practices and relevant Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives that companies operate.

We supplement our own research with a significant investment in ethical screening and ESG-related research: 

  • Ethical Investment Research Service

    Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS) is a leading global provider of independent research into the ESG performance of companies. We use its database to screen potential investments on ethical grounds.

  • Intangible Value Assessment

    Intangible Value Assessment (IVA) is designed by MSCI ESG Research. This provides research, ratings and analysis of the corporate management of environmental and social risk factors. IVA rates and analyses over 2,000 global companies based on 34 key ESG issues.

  • Specialist Databases 

    We use specialist databases, such as:

    • the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)
    • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
    • Extractives Industry Transparency Directive (EITI)

     

Responsible investing

Kames Capital aims to be a responsible investor. We ensure that we identify and understand the key environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks for each of the companies, industries and sectors that we invest in. We do this because evidence suggests that companies who rank among the leaders in governance and sustainability tend to outperform as investments over the long term.

Our approach to responsible investment is consistent with the UK Stewardship Code. The Code sets out good practice Principles on engagement with investee companies which UK-based institutional investors should aspire to. You can download our compliance statement below.

We are also a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI). The UN PRI is the principal international investor initiative to drive the integration of environmental, social and governance issues into investment decision making. The initiative places a formal requirement on signatories to be active, responsible shareholders and report annually on activities and progress in a transparent manner.  You can download a copy of the transparency report below.

 Kames UN PRI RI Transparency Report 2013/2014  UK Stewardship Code: Compliance statement
  UNPRI Stewardship