At FSSA, we seek to invest in quality companies, as defined by the strength of their management, financials and franchise. We are long-term investors and measure success over years, not quarters. As a result, we look for management teams that are well-aligned with minority investors and respect all stakeholders, both in good times and bad. The pursuit of immediate gains through short-sighted strategy and reckless conduct, or the exploitation of labour, tax loopholes, legislative arbitrage or the environment, runs contrary to our definition of quality.
Our approach to responsible investing has been shaped by an emphasis on stewardship and the belief that quality managers and good governance should ensure that environmental and social concerns are rightfully addressed.
Initially, we believed that the greatest risks to client capital were rooted in poor management and inadequate or conflicted board oversight, though we gradually moved to a more holistic approach – focusing on additional factors we considered to be material and relevant to our investee companies.
"To us, sustainability is not just a label, but a set of values by which we operate. As a firm, we have been signatories to the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) since 2007 (we view it as a minimum standard) and are constantly striving to better understand how ESG and sustainability issues impact long-term investment performance."
We recognise that our investment activities can have an impact on society and the environment – and good governance is the foundation on which great companies are built. Over time, our understanding of the broader issues has improved; yet, we realise it is an incredibly complex subject and there is no single approach or path to prescribe to investors or companies – rather, it is the direction of travel that is more important.