September 2022 External Advisory Committee Meeting Summary

The September 2022 Advisory Committee meeting began with a presentation from Rory Hammerson, manager of the Sustainable European Fund. He gave an overview of fund performance, the current geopolitical headwinds facing Europe and the opportunities that remain within the market.

The Committee then discussed succession planning as our original four board members will need to step down in 2024, due to the provisions set out in the Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference. We have already expanded the Committee beyond the original four members and will continue to make changes over the next two years to ensure a smooth transition.

Next, the Committee reviewed significant changes to fund holdings since the last meeting. In particular, they discussed a new fund holding, Renewi, and a recent divestment, Pennon. Renewi is an Anglo Dutch corporation that operates in the waste management industry. It treats waste and soil contamination, but is also involved in “waste to product” services, i.e. where materials are recycled into new products. The Committee also discussed the recent divestment of Pennon due to persistent environmental underperformance.

The Committee then provided feedback on the impact and thematic reporting that Castlefield has developed over the past 12 months. The reporting is designed to better communicate to clients the exposure of our funds to a range of positive themes including health and wellbeing, education, sustainable infrastructure and so on. It also demonstrates that our funds perform well on many social and environmental metrics when compared to representative benchmarks.

Finally, the Committee gave feedback on a new diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) paper that the investment team has drafted on our work to date in this area and our proposed next steps. The Committee were supportive of Castlefield’s intention to engage with selected companies on incorporating diversity considerations into product design.