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The Church of England Pensions Board (“the Board”) is a statutory body which is a corporate trustee and administrator of four pension schemes, including both defined benefit (final salary, hybrid and CARE) and defined contribution arrangements. The investment team is responsible for the administration of approximately £3.8 billion, in a diversified portfolio. There are 40,000+ members, pensioners and other beneficiaries.
This is a senior new role that will be responsible for developing and delivering the Board’s corporate governance related strategy, consistent with the Board’s overarching responsible investment strategy, ethical investment policies, and industry best practice. This role further strengthens the Board’s approach to responsible investment and governance in particular. The successful candidate will oversee the delivery of proxy voting and investment screening. The position is expected to have a high profile on the topic of governance within the responsible investment industry. The Board does not delegate its proxy voting responsibilities to its asset managers, and the exercise of our voting rights is a core component of our stewardship strategy. We vote on approximately 26,000 ballots per annum, incorporating a range of stewardship topics including diversity, climate change, modern slavery, tax transparency, living wage etc. The Board also screens an investable universe of 10,000 companies based on thematic ethical and responsible investment topics, guided by the advice of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group. The position will also have reporting requirements and provide strategic thinking related to the Board’s engagement programmes.
The main responsibilities for this role are:
Proxy Voting (50%)
Develop the Board’s corporate governance related strategy, act as an in-house expert and lead on corporate governance for the Board.
Manage the Board’s proxy voting process and ensuring compliance with relevant voting templated and ethical policies.
Ensuring that votes are cast and rationales are recorded in an accurate and timely manner so that engagement can be conducted with priority companies.
Monitor and analyse proxy voting recommendations provided by the Board’s Proxy Advisor (Currently, ISS, a corporate governance analysis and proxy voting firm based in the US.) under an agreed proxy voting template. Make recommendations where the voting template does not provide a clear direction.
Ensure the Board’s voting practice is consistent with our ethical investment policies and objectives. Paying particular attention to ESG shareholder resolutions.
Provide high quality statistical and narrative reporting for internal and external distribution.
Contribute to the annual review and development of the proxy voting template
Prepare, in close collaboration with the investment team (in particular responsible investment specialists), analytical research on responsible investment topics.
Support the Board’s investment stewardship activities (particularly on corporate governance matters), including but not limited to corporate engagement and manager monitoring.
Lead the development of the Board’s approach to investment screening, including the research and development of new screens, the delivery of existing screens, and the application of screens across the Board’s investment managers.
Provide oversight of the screening service provided to the CEPB by the Screening Provider (Currently MSCI ESG Research), in respect of companies within the CEPB investment universe.
This oversight includes responsibility for quality control and data flows from/to Screening Provider, investment staff and investment managers (when required). This involves working to deadlines.
Supervise the research and development of updated screens on a quarterly basis in conformity with agreed ethical investment policies and requirements.
Monitor changes to index constituents, and ensure that the Board’s screening approach is consistent, up to date, and that good records are kept.
Lead a programme of direct corporate engagement related to voting,
Deliver reporting for trustees and others,
Represent the Board in collaborations with other Church Investing Bodies, and
Lead on research/thought leadership on corporate governance, proxy voting and screening.
Input into relevant consultations, submissions and public statements
Represent the Pensions Board at industry and public events.
Assist with the training and oversight of junior colleagues
The ideal candidate should have:
Skills and Experience:
A track record of relevant work experience related to corporate governance and active ownership.
Ability to lead and deliver robust investment stewardship processes (e.g. proxy voting, screening) within defined deadlines.
Experience of proxy voting and/or engagement with an institutional investor, asset manager, or service provider.
Demonstrable ability to compile, manage, and interpret data, as well as perform in-depth research and analysis. Including experience manipulating large spreadsheets
Experience communicating in public fora (in person and in print/digital)
Knowledge of corporate governance, ‘ESG’, and responsible investment, from an investor or corporate perspective.
Ability to work with limited supervision
Strong analytical skills with excellent attention to detail
Strong interpersonal skills
Evidence of passion for and interest in responsible investment
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