2020 key figures

  • 181

    Issuers engaged in H1 2020

  • + 80%

    of our engagements in H1 2020 were linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

  • 65

    Engagements at senior executive or board director level

Stewardship and the pandemic

Our thematic ESG convictions have become even more relevant in the pandemic. Our research and engagement around climate change, biodiversity, human capital management and gender inequality, public health and corporate governance have adapted to explore how COVID-19 might change industries and alter ways that we might invest. Hans Stoter, Global Head of Core Investments, AXA Investment Managers

As an active long-term fund manager, we had the agility and experience to respond quickly and meaningfully in this crisis, helped in part by the quality of our existing relationships with investee companies.

Engagement in review

The first six months of 2020 can be divided into two very distinct halves. Our engagement programme came in two highly-contrasting segments – business as usual before the COVID-19 lockdown, and then an altogether quite different period when we were all confined to our homes from mid-March onwards. Yo Takatsuki, Head of ESG Research and Active Ownership

For most of the first quarter (Q1), our engagement was focused on the key thematic areas that we consider most urgent and material for investors: climate change, biodiversity, human capital as well as gender diversity, public health, data privacy and corporate governance.

How we exercised our voting rights in H1 2020

Just as the COVID-19 crisis impacted almost every facet of business operation during the first half of this year, the peak of the 2020 proxy voting season (March to June) was also affected. The pandemic shaped the way annual general meetings (AGMs) had to be arranged and conducted.

Social lockdowns imposed by governments globally curtailed companies’ ability to hold in-person AGMs. Some firms announced a postponement, others moved to hold virtual, online meetings on an exceptional basis. This was very much the notable development of this year’s proxy voting season. AXA IM is supportive of virtual online meetings in such emergency cases, but we have encouraged companies to return to physical, in-person meetings once the COVID-19 situation normalises.