How Stewardship works

Contributing to a sustainable society

Our Stewardship philosophy

We recognise that the contribution companies make to a sustainable society depends both on the products and services they provide and on the way they provide them. 

Shareholders have a responsibility to address these issues actively with the companies they invest in, to deliver a positive outcome for their suppliers, customers, employees and the environment.

How it works

The Stewardship funds have clear investment policies which clearly determine the types of companies that the funds can have exposure to.

Applying the investment policies of the Stewardship funds and managing the investments involves a three-layer process of exclusion, engagement and monitoring.

The funds aim to exclude companies with significant involvement in the following activities:

  • Tobacco production
  • Alcohol production
  • Gambling
  • Pornography or violent material
  • Manufacture of military weapons or weapon systems
  • Unnecessary exploitation of animals
  • Nuclear power generation
  • Poor environmental practices
  • Human rights abuses
  • Poor relations with employees, customers or suppliers

As a shareholder, Stewardship requires its fund managers to engage with companies encouraging positive environmental, social and governance practices and to support the positive contribution companies make to a sustainable society.

As long as companies satisfy the Stewardship policies, we will engage with them to improve their business practices.

We believe that improving the “non-financial” performance of companies is also likely to have a positive effect on their long-term financial performance. So we monitor the performance of the Stewardship funds against a number of non-financial targets to make sure that they are meeting customer expectations.

These were the first direct investment funds in the UK to measure the social and environmental impact of their investment policies. It’s further evidence that we are committed to trying to help those investors who care about more than simply investment returns.

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally paid in.

How to invest

Retirement planning with Stewardship

Whether you’re self-employed, employed, just starting to think about your pension planning needs or approaching retirement, there are a variety of plans to suit your circumstances.

Some pension products offer links to Stewardship funds. As an existing customer, you should refer to up-to-date information when reviewing your fund choices available online in our Fund Centre. Group pension scheme members with access to Membersite can log in to find out which Stewardship funds are available to them.

Life products

If you already have an ex-Friends Life investment bond, the Stewardship funds may be available to you, so you can combine your longer-term financial planning needs with investing responsibly.

The Stewardship funds are available in some of our pension products and for existing customers in our life products. 

For personalised advice based on your individual circumstances, speak to your financial adviser about retirement planning or investment products. If you don’t have an adviser, visit our financial advice page for more information.

Please remember the value of investments can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. This means you could get back less than you invest.

Pension articles

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