September 2021 Advisory Committee Meeting summary

After a successful three-year term at the helm of Castlefield’s external advisory committee, Kevin Davies indicated after the last meeting in February his intention to step down as chairperson. As such, the September committee meeting began with the unanimous election of Rebecca O’Connor as the new chairperson. Kevin Davies will remain on the committee and we are very grateful to him for his continued contribution.

Following the election of a new chairperson, the committee discussed findings from an effectiveness review that took place during summer 2021, where the broad consensus was that the committee is operating well and could be further enhanced with some modifications, such as incorporating a new round of presentations from fund managers.

Next, the committee received an update from the Castlefield team on a new holding with a positive environmental theme, a smart metering firm called SMS plc. The agenda moved onto governance issues and committee members gave their views on Castlefield’s proposed changes to its voting policy ahead of the 2022 proxy voting season. The committee was supportive of the proposals, which include increased an focus on climate change, diversity and director overboarding (i.e. directors with a large number of external appointments).

The committee then heard from the Castlefield team about other developments in the past six months, including Castlefield becoming a member of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and the Carbon Disclosure Project. The team also briefed committee members on the extent to which the companies that Castlefield invests in have adopted net zero targets.

The penultimate agenda item was a discussion on data privacy, where Castlefield sought the committee’s views on how companies can navigate this difficult topic in a responsible manner. Finally, the committee gave suggestions on topics to cover at the next meeting, scheduled for February 2022.