A pioneering partnership
Regnan’s history is a tale of a pioneering partnership that began with an unconventional and forward-thinking request from the superannuation fund we now know as Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), a ground-breaking response from the investment house known as Pendal (formerly BT Investment Management), and an innovative process built under the exacting standards of Monash University.
In 1996, Monash University established a commercial enterprise with a focus on environmental risk, initially known as Monash Centre for Environmental Management (MCEM) and later as Monash Sustainability Enterprises (MSE). The group began working with Erik Mather, who was involved in developing early sustainable investment products for Westpac Investment Management.
By the early 2000s, this team and its clients were becoming more concerned about value destruction attributable to poor corporate governance, disregard for the importance of licence to operate, and inattention to the financial consequences of environmental risks. It was apparent some of these factors lay beyond the reach of traditional investment research and investment practice.
With outcomes for its members in mind, CSC drove and funded the establishment of BT Governance Advisory Service (BT GAS) in 2001 under Erik Mather. (Mather would go on to be the founding managing director of Regnan). On behalf of CSC, BT GAS began research into corporate and investment governance gaps (with the assistance of the Monash team) and deployed this via an innovative overlay service. BT GAS developed engagement practices with ASX-listed companies in a constructive manner with a clear objective to drive improvements in areas as diverse as audit arrangements, executive pay, environmental disclosures and workplace safety.
In 2003, CSC (then ‘ARIA’) and BT GAS were among only three recipients worldwide to be given a prestigious first tier United Nations Royal Award for Responsible Investment for this pioneering model.
In 2007, BT GAS re-launched as Regnan – Governance Research & Engagement after its ownership had expanded to several institutional investor clients (including HESTA and VFMC). At this time, Regnan also packaged its proprietary research for fund managers to use in their own investment processes. The Monash partnership had resulted in a significant capability in evaluating the relationship of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to investment value. In 2010, the Monash team merged with Regnan.
Since that time, Regnan’s business evolved to a stage where combining our ESG research, engagement and advisory capabilities with Pendal’s fundamental research capabilities would deliver improved outcomes for clients. This realisation led to Pendal acquiring the remaining 50% of Regnan.
Today, Regnan continues to deliver its highly regarded research and stewardship services through a team of professionals that includes members of the aforementioned Monash and BT GAS organisations who operate out of Sydney and Melbourne. In addition to our well-established research and engagement services, Regnan now offers responsible investment advisory to make the team’s observations and insights, gathered over many years, available to a broader audience of responsible investors.
We also extend our sincere thanks to VFMC, HESTA and Catholic Super whose leadership and strong support for investment stewardship, alongside CSC and Pendal, has helped Regnan secure positive outcomes on ESG issues in corporate Australia on behalf of fund members and the wider community since 2007.