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Influential investing - using our voice

Policy statement for Virgin Money Unit Trust Managers Limited, covering active ownership and shareholder engagement

Step up with active ownership

We work with our Investment Adviser abrdn - one of the world’s largest investment specialists - to invest your money and carry out the activities we talk about below. So, “we” below includes abrdn acting for us, aligned to our approach.

You’re saving in a Pension, Stocks and Shares ISA or Unit Trust / Investment Account that invests your money in our funds. Some of our funds directly invest in bonds and shares which we own on your behalf. Some of our funds invest in a collection of other funds, so we own part of those other funds. Our funds that do that are known as funds of funds.

Owning shares means being a shareholder and getting the opportunity to influence the companies we invest in for you, by voting on what the company does. For both shares and bonds, we can also influence those companies by engaging with them on important issues. In our funds of funds, we work directly with other Fund Managers on their ownership activities.

Being an active owner means working with companies to make sure they put your money to good use. This means considering more than just the financial performance of the company – it’s also about considering the impact they have on the world and working to make that positive. More and more, it means looking at the company’s plans for the future to make sure these are good for people and the planet.

We are moving to investing responsibly across all of our funds. This is shifting our investments from just following different stock market indices, where we don’t pick and choose the companies we invest in, to incorporating investing responsibly into our approach. An important part of this is using active ownership; we need to make sure we are engaging with companies and – if investing in shares – using voting rights to make positive change.

abrdn has a Stewardship policy that sets out how their active ownership activities are carried out with companies. Check it out here.

Engage for positive change

Engaging with the companies that our funds invest in is hugely important as they work towards bringing about positive change.

Our funds invest in a lot of companies, so we need to engage on the most important issues and the companies that need to change the most to be positive in their impact.

We have a process in place to work with companies to get this done and use common goals with other investors to progress important issues for everyone – like human rights and reducing carbon emissions.

Votes matter

For the funds that invest directly in shares, these come with a right to vote in the decisions companies make in their annual general meeting. We have an approach to voting and this includes using that power along with investor engagement to raise all the most important issues with companies, as well as raising objections on decisions we disagree with.

For the two Virgin Money funds that invest directly in shares, the tables below show part of our voting record during 2022. It lists, for the ten largest holdings in each fund, our votes that differed from the recommendation of the company.

Virgin UK Index Tracking Trust

Virgin Climate Change Fund

A few more important things

There are a few other areas of active ownership that we consider and these help us to manage your investments.

Conflicts of interest based on ownership influence

That means keeping an eye out for things that we do that might stop us from making the most of this on your behalf.

Sweating the big stuff

We work with other investors on the big things that companies need to do to build positive change and a brighter future.

Lending out

A couple of our funds can lend out their investments, which also includes ownership rights. We make sure this is only in small amounts, for a short time, and in a way that doesn’t impact on being an active owner for you.