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 the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC), a ground-breaking response from the investment house we today call 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, engaging ASX companies in a constructive manner – 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, its ownership having expanded to several institutional investor clients (including HESTA and VFMC). At this time, it 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.
Today, the Regnan team continues to include members of each predecessor organisation and operates out of Sydney and Melbourne. CSC and Pendal have assumed equal co-ownership. In addition to its well-established research and engagement services, Regnan now offers responsible investment advisory to make its 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.