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ESG Policy

Helping our clients to make the most of their financial future.

The people at Asset Value Investors (AVI) are committed to leveraging our long heritage, stewardship, and expertise to make investing responsible, accessible, and profitable for everyone – individuals, families, institutions, private companies, and listed companies.  Financial returns matter but we are in a unique position to influence positive change by questioning the practices of the companies we invest in for a more sustainable future.

We are fundamentally committed to supporting long-term sustainable businesses that will grow and participate in the prosperity of the economy with a responsible approach to the environment, society, and governance.  We believe that the integration of ESG and sustainability considerations into our investment strategy is not only integral to comprehensively understanding each investment’s ability to create long term value but aligned with our values as responsible investors.

Responsible investing requires rigorous analysis, judgement, and a thorough understanding of the associated risks. We track and monitor the progress of our investee companies in relation to material ESG factors and are committed to actively engaging with our portfolio companies. Through constructive dialogue with boards and management, collaborative engagement, and proxy voting, we seek to promote sustainable attitudes and help build resilience to long-term financially relevant ESG risks. Our process of engagement and escalation of issues will vary with each company. We do not believe that a one formula fits all policy is the most optimal way to achieve a result. We encourage and expect investee companies to take meaningful action in remedying weaknesses in the context of long-term value creation.

As long-term investors, aiming to unlock potential, we would be reluctant to divest in a company where we believe we can influence positive change. However, it remains a possibility if engagement on material ESG issues is consistently inadequate and the resulting risks become untenable. Our buy, hold and sell disciplines are considered on a case-by-case basis and driven by our balancing of ESG considerations with financial performance and our fiduciary responsibility to our clients.

We are aligned with the UN PRI’s belief that an economically efficient, sustainable global financial system is a necessity for long-term value creation. Such a system will reward long-term, responsible investment and benefit the environment and society as a whole.  AVI became a signatory to the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) on 09 April 2021. In doing so we have confirmed our belief in our duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries and that the below principles will better align investors with the broader objectives of society.

  1. We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
  2. We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
  3. We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
  4. We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
  5. We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
  6. We will report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.
TCFD | Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

The Financial Stability Board created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. We believe the TCFD recommendations provide a useful framework to increase transparency on climate-related risks and opportunities within financial markets and help to encourage sustainable business attitudes and practices. Asset Value Investors became supporters of TCFD in May 2021.

Our approach to ESG should not be viewed as distinct from our investment philosophy, an afterthought to our general practice, but rather as part of an integrated system that provides a vital perspective when analysing the long-term value creation potential of a company.

As research-driven value investors, we seek to truly understand each company in our portfolio and the context within which it operates on a case-by-case basis. Our approach to ESG integration reflects this. Our process does not involve the use of a filter to screen out negative-scoring ESG stocks, or a filter to only include positive-scoring ESG stocks as we believe this approach is inconsistent with our unique bottom-up investment strategy.

Rather than sitting in contradiction to our traditional analysis, AVI has created a bespoke ESG monitoring system which forms an important part of our newly developed proprietary database. This powerful tool deepens our understanding of the risks and opportunities within our universe, ensures ESG considerations are integrated into each stage of our analysis and elevates our ability to constructively engage with our investee companies.

Powered by ISS Norm-Based Research, we also closely monitor any controversies and potential violations of international norms associated with our universe.

Whilst our hope is that controversies do not occur, they can be a marker of how well a company’s policies are integrated into business operations and culture. This is useful to us as investors in highlighting vulnerabilities, structural problems and indicating where improvements can be made.

Controversies can bring major reputational damage and a loss of consumer trust which can have a significant effect on a companies’ value. By encouraging companies to strengthen their focus on ESG issues we hope to limit controversies and promote sustainable attitudes and practices.

GO HERE TO SEE AN EXAMPLE OF OUR ESG APPROACH

We seek to identify the most relevant factors within each area of ESG and sustainability by materiality and financial risk.

We define Environmental sustainability within the context of Environmental Impact, Tackling Climate Change and Sustainable Management.

Social, we divide into Dignity and Equality, Wellbeing and Development, and Community Engagement

Governance includes Quality of the Governing Body, Corporate Strategy, and Ethical Behaviour.

It is our view that effective ESG integration should be regarded as a constantly evolving practice. For this reason, our chosen sub-sections and their respective metrics should not be seen as exhaustive and are subject to change both as our integration of ESG deepens further and our expectation of corporate ESG performance increases over time.

Go here to see AVI’s full ESG Policy

AVI, as the investment manager are responsible, active stewards of AJOT’s capital. AVI has a duty to vote carefully and thoughtfully and takes this duty seriously. AVI aims to vote at every general meeting when eligible.

AVI considers proxy voting to be an important lever in engaging with the portfolio companies and ensuring that our perspectives on environmental, social and governance issues are represented.

 

AJOT 2019 Proxy Voting Record

AJOT 2020 Proxy Voting Record

AVI Japan Opportunity Trust p.l.c is referred to as ‘AJOT’ throughout the website. AJOT’s investment managers, Asset Value Investors are referred to as ‘AVI’

AJOT currently conducts its affairs so that its shares can be recommended by Independent Financial Advisers (“IFAs”) in the UK to ordinary retail investors in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) rules in relation to non-mainstream investment products and intends to continue to do so. The shares are excluded from the FCA’s restrictions which apply to non-mainstream investment products because they are shares in an authorised investment trust. © AVI Japan Opportunity Trust plc. 2018 Registered in England No: 11487703. An investment company under Section 833 of the Companies Act 2006. Registered Office: Beaufort House, 51 New North Road, Exeter, EX4 4EP. Managed by Asset Value Investors Ltd. which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance. The price of investments and the income may fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the full amount invested. AJOT may use gearing techniques (leverage) which will exaggerate market movements both down and up which could mean sudden and large falls in market value. Please refer to the Key Features Document for further details of the risks affecting your investment. Performance figures are cumulative and based on Price total return and do not include Plan charges. For more information, please call 03458 500181. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. Asset Value Investors Ltd do not offer Innovative Finance ISAs.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO OFFER OR TO PROMOTE THE OFFER OR SALE OF THE SHARES (THE “SHARES”) OF AVI JAPAN OPPORTUNITY TRUST PLC (THE “COMPANY”) IN THE UNITED STATES OR TO ANY “U.S. PERSONS” AS DEFINED IN REGULATION S (“US PERSONS”) UNDER THE US SECURITIES ACT OF 1933, AS AMENDED (THE “SECURITIES ACT”).

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The contents of this website are communicated by Asset Value Investors Limited (“AVI”), which is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, with registered number 01881101 and which has its registered office at 25 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AL, United Kingdom.

The information contained in this website does not constitute or form a part of any offer to sell or issue, or the solicitation of any offer to purchase, subscribe for or otherwise acquire, any securities in the United States or in any jurisdiction in which, or to any person to whom, such an offer or solicitation would be unlawful.

Nothing in this website is to be taken as investment or tax advice.  If you are unclear about any of the information on this website or its suitability for you, you must contact your financial or tax adviser, or an independent financial or tax adviser before making any investment or financial decisions.

The Company has not been and will not be registered under the US Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act“), and as such holders of the Shares are not and will not be entitled to the benefits of the Investment Company Act. The Shares have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act, or with any securities regulatory authority of any state or other jurisdiction of the United States, and may not be offered, sold, resold, pledged, delivered, assigned or otherwise transferred, directly or indirectly, into or within the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, any US Persons. There has been and will be no public offer of the Shares in the United States. The offer and sale of the Shares have not been and will not be registered under the applicable securities laws of Australia, Canada, Japan or South Africa. Potential users of the information contained  in this website are requested to inform themselves about and to observe all applicable restrictions.

General risk warning:  All investment is subject to risk. The value of the Shares may go down as well as go up. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns and there is no guarantee that the market price of the Shares will fully reflect their underlying net asset value. There is also no guarantee that the Company’s investment objective will be achieved.

The information contained in this website may contain forward-looking statements. Any statement other than a statement of historical fact is a forward-looking statement. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by any forward-looking statement.  You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement.

Neither the Company nor AVI undertakes any obligation to update or revise any information in this website, including without limitation, any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, and neither the Company nor AVI will confirm the accuracy or completeness of any information at any given time.

This website may contain links to third party websites. These links are provided for your information and convenience only, and do not amount to a recommendation or endorsement by the Company or AVI of that third party or its website. Neither the Company nor AVI has any control over the content of any third party website and neither the Company nor AVI has verified the accuracy of any content on any third party website. Accordingly, neither the Company nor AVI is liable for the content or availability (or lack of availability) of such third party websites.

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