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Oldfield Partners Supported Hiring: ESG Analyst

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Location: UK: London with hybrid working

Opportunity: Supported Hiring into Permanent Role

Closing Date:  31 January 2022 (extended)

Oldfield Partners is looking for an ESG Analyst and welcomes professionals who have taken an extended career break to apply. Applicants with a career break of 18 months or more will benefit from Career Returners Coaching Support provided by Women Returners. During your career break you may have been working on a small-scale basis to fit around your other commitments or have not carried out any paid work for a number of years.

Oldfield Partners is an inclusive employer offering flexible working arrangements for all. They are currently operating on a hybrid basis and they expect that this pattern will become the new normal.

About Oldfield Partners

Oldfield Partners is a classic contrarian value investment specialist that seeks to provide long-term returns through patient investing. Their approach traces its roots to renowned investors such as Buffett, Graham and Templeton. They pride themselves on a valuation discipline applied through the market cycle. They have a clear ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ discipline driven by intrinsic worth seeking to buy companies trading at a discount to market multiples where there is a clear sense of market scepticism. Oldfield Partners keep their distance from the market noise; concentrating on contrarian value investing with high conviction. Their focussed portfolios, with typically less than 25 stocks, provide high active share.

ESG Advisor/Lead Analyst/Specialist

They are looking for an experienced ESG Analyst to play a leading role in helping the investment team achieve its ESG responsibilities to their clients. To date, the investment team has completed ESG related tasks. They are keen to find a dedicated resource to act as a principal, lead ESG analyst/advisor and broaden their ESG coverage. Ideally, you would have five years experience in the ESG/RI field, be well organised and a self-starter.

They are a value-first manager incorporating ESG fully within the process. Their portfolios contain a full range of ESG rated companies, from saints to sinners, with all sharing the attribute of being undervalued where they can see improvement in fundamentals including ESG elements contributing to value realisation for their investors.

You will have responsibility for:

  • Regulatory relations with PRI, FRC, IIGCC, CA100+ and associated reporting
  • Supplier relations with MSCI ESG and esgaia (engagement recording and tracking system)
  • Lead operative on their Stewardship Committee, preferably Chairing this
  • ESG policy/regulation monitoring for the firm including TCFD and SFDR
  • Assist the CIO in leading the Investment Team’s ESG assessments and activities including advice on best practice
  • Preparation of quarterly and annual Stewardship/ESG reports to clients plus the production of their annual Sustainability Report in combination with wider Stewardship Committee
  • Lead on climate-related stewardship including TCFD reporting at a firm and portfolio-level and help the investment team ensure that their stock-level climate monitoring and engagement is consistent across the team
  • Independently review their portfolios for wider ESG themes such as biodiversity, water usage, plastic use, board composition, diversity, workers’ rights, modern slavery compliance etc
  • Oversight of all their engagement and ensuring esgaia is kept up to date
  • Monitoring of voting and any related engagements
  • Writing Thought Pieces for their website on a range of ESG topics
  • Report to clients & consultants on ESG matters at meetings including helping Client Relations with DDQ questionnaires

What it’s like to work at Oldfield Partners

Collegiate approach

They have brought together an experienced, cohesive team who share a common philosophical commitment to patient, contrarian, value investing. They are based in London’s West End, away from the frenzy of the City, to allow them to pursue their global search for value, and their dispassionate assessment of the opportunities that they uncover.

The team brings together decades of collective experience in value investing, consistently applied over market cycles. Their culture is investment-led and summed up in a few words: collegiate, supportive, founded on intellectual curiosity and focussed on long term results.

ESG integration

As fundamental long-term contrarian value investors, an important part of company analysis is to assess corporate governance, as well as the management of social and environmental issues. This forms part of their risk assessment of business fundamentals. They believe that ignoring ESG factors may lead to an incomplete understanding of the risks to an investment case, and may result in the wrong investment decisions. Indeed, successful integration of ESG factors can contribute positively to the risk-adjusted returns achieved by the investments they make on their clients’ behalf.

Their starting point is not to exclude any particular sectors or countries unless excluded in individual managed accounts by the clients concerned. However, they do avoid companies about which they have serious governance concerns. Furthermore, they do not invest in companies where they have concerns about business being conducted in an unethical manner, unless it is clear that such concerns have been or are being dealt with by management and any shortcomings have been addressed.

Once they become shareholders, it is their responsibility to monitor any relevant ESG issues, and to engage with management where appropriate. Responsible ownership is a necessary part of their fiduciary duty.

OP was listed as a signatory to the 2020 UK Stewardship Code in September 2021 and is a signatory to UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) with an A rating.

In this context, ESG factors are integrated into their investment process, from the idea generation stage and throughout the investment horizon. As long-term investors, this may span over several years. This is reflected in key investment notes, where there is a dedicated section for analysing relevant ESG issues.

ESG incidents are identified by either portfolio managers, analysts or by MSCI, their third-party provider of ESG research, data and controversy monitoring. Issues are assessed by the wider investment team with additional oversight from the OP Stewardship Committee. Managing an ESG incident is done on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the materiality of the incident. In fact, ESG-related issues often provide them with investment opportunities where they can see an improvement in such issues playing a role in the recovery in the results and perceptions of a company and its share price.

Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing the world today and Oldfield Partners are committed to playing their part in helping the world lower harmful emissions to net zero by 2050 in line with the recommendations from the Paris Agreement. In 2019, they joined Climate Action 100+ and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and most recently they became signatories of the 2021 Global Investor Statement to Governments on the Climate Crisis. Oldfield Partners will engage with the companies in which they invest if a company has yet to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 or appears to be slipping in their roadmap to achieve that goal. In their own operations, they began measuring their own carbon emissions in 2020 and they commit to buy carbon offsets for more than 100% of their gross emissions each year.

They are also supporters of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) and they are integrating their recommendations into their company engagements and research process.

While they encourage individual companies to improve their level and management of carbon emissions, the concentrated, index-agnostic nature of their investment approach means that the carbon footprint of the portfolio overall will be dictated by the mix of stocks they hold at any one time. The carbon footprint of the portfolio overall may shift significantly with individual purchase and sales. For this reason, they do not believe that tracking their portfolio level emissions footprint is sensible.

Engagement

Oldfield Partners will engage with a company’s board and/or management when there are stewardship-related weaknesses and they feel that their interaction with the company may have an influence. They hope to address their stewardship concerns through discussions that they hold with company representatives within the ordinary routine of interaction. However, they may decide to extend their engagement activity and/or escalate specific areas of concern in order to effect the change they are seeking. Such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, influenced by factors such as their view of the materiality of the issue. The incident reports they receive from MSCI give their assessments of severity, and a confirmed violation classified as severe is more likely to prompt engagement.

The Stewardship Committee monitors the progress of their engagement efforts, providing useful oversight. The Committee will sometimes challenge the materiality rating, or the method and process of engagement to reflect concern about a particular activity or aspect of governance. The process of escalation in their engagement can include:

  • withholding support or voting against management (and informing them)
  • meeting/communicating with non-executive directors or the chair
  • collaborative intervention with other institutional investors
  • engaging with regulatory or governmental bodies, when deemed appropriate and effective

Voting

It is OP’s policy to vote all shares where they are entitled to do so, except where there are onerous restrictions – for example, shareblocking. OP employs the services of ISS to manage the voting of proxies and assist with their decision-making. ISS provides analysis and voting recommendations for each proposal. ISS’s voting policies reflect best practice within the industry and are extremely thorough. The voting policies of OP are generally aligned with the voting policies of ISS and their voting instructions will follow those of ISS in all but a relatively small number of incidences. However, if there are company-specific factors which lead them to take a different view, they vote accordingly.

Remuneration package commensurate with experience to include base pay, discretionary bonus, pension contribution and private healthcare.

How to Apply

Please apply with your CV and a cover letter to recruitment@oldfieldpartners.com.

With any questions please contact recruitment@oldfieldpartners.com

Closing date for applications 31 January 2022 but please do apply ASAP