The European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) has recently published the new EFAMA Stewardship Code, “Principles for asset managers’ monitoring of, voting in, engagement with investee companies”, a revised version of the 2011 Code of External Governance.
This new Code is designed to assist EFAMA corporate members – asset managers – in adopting best stewardship practices with the companies they invest in on behalf of clients. Stewardship covers the monitoring of, voting the shares of, and engagement with investee companies.
EFAMA revisited the earlier EFAMA Code of External Governance to bring it in line with the Revised Shareholder Rights Directive, which was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 20 May 2017 and which Member States have to implement by June 2019. The Code, designed to be a guidance document, should be used on a “comply or explain” basis to help asset managers fulfil their duties with regards to their stewardship of investee companies.
The EFAMA Stewardship Code highlights how, through stewardship, asset managers can encourage best business and management practices in companies on environmental, governance, human rights and social challenges.
EFAMA believes it is not only part of an asset manager’s fiduciary duty to protect and enhance clients’ assets, it also encourages long-term value creation and long-term sustainability.
In the new Code, EFAMA updated the language to bring it in line with the Revised Shareholder Rights Directive and current terminology. A new ‘background’ section was inserted to give more context to how asset managers carry out their shareholder rights on behalf of their clients. The scope of what is covered in the engagement with investee companies was also updated and amended to also include environmental and social concerns, compliance, culture and ethics, and performance and capital structure.