As a risk aware manager, Ariel considers environmental, social and governance issues (ESG) as part of the broader review of the material and relevant risks to an investment. We interact with companies to understand their strategies to drive better outcomes. Ariel implements ESG considerations into our investment processes differently for the domestic strategies versus the international and global strategies, as summarized below:
Ariel’s Domestic Strategies
As part of our commitment to drive long-term results for our clients, we employ a rigorous approach when considering environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risk factors across our flagship traditional value strategies. Our dedicated three-person ESG team, embedded in our domestic research department, works closely with our fundamental analysts and portfolio managers to integrate and assess financially material ESG risks and opportunities throughout Ariel’s investment analysis and direct engagement with management teams. For each company, we create an in-depth ESG research report including a proprietary ESG Risk Rating informed by assessments of industry exposure, disclosure, and management of material ESG issues. These strategies have a long tradition of using our position as significant shareholders to drive improvement on ESG performance through constructive relationships with management teams. Our focus on ESG integration builds on long-held screens in our domestic strategies of companies whose primary source of revenue is derived from production or sale of tobacco products or manufacture of firearms.
Ariel’s International and Global Strategies
We integrate material and relevant ESG risk factors and exposure into our bottom-up fundamental research process using a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis. Our approach to ESG is grounded in inclusion and improvement via engagement and dialogue, rather than exclusion or elimination via screens or scores. With respect to quantitative analysis, our team may utilize data from various third party sources, databases, and company disclosures. We also benchmark companies versus their appropriate industries and/or geographic peers. Qualitative analysis generally includes reading research reports, talking to company managements, reviewing trade and regulatory policies and publications, as well as talking to subject matter experts. These qualitative and quantitative assessments are incorporated within our financial models and write-ups. They are also discussed and debated during our research calls and Stock Review Meetings. At client request, we accommodate restrictions on investing in certain industries such as tobacco and firearms.
Ariel’s flagship traditional value strategies include Ariel Fund, Ariel Appreciation Fund, small cap value, small/mid cap value, and mid cap value.