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Oct 29, 2019

SSGA’s Philip Vernardis talks index investing, stewardship and reporting on climate change

‘I think there is room for considerable improvement'

IR Magazine, the sister publication of Corporate Secretary, spoke with Philip Vernardis, vice president of the asset stewardship team at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), at the IR Magazine Global Forum 2019 in Paris, which took place earlier this month.

In this video, Vernardis discusses the work of the SSGA asset stewardship team, the way his firm uses engagement and voting to encourage long-term value creation, and how companies should incorporate ESG issues into their strategy and communications.

‘We are an index manager, so our index strategies are essentially permanent capital,’ he says. ‘So we cannot walk away from a company as long as it is in the index. We cannot change, let’s say, the S&P 500 into the S&P 499. So our job is to fix these companies and improve the quality of the index.’

Vernardis adds that he would like to see companies taking a long-term approach to discussing climate change issues, rather than, for example, focusing on short-term emissions targets. ‘I think there is room for considerable improvement there,’ he says.


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