Vanguard Files For Its First Actively Managed ESG Fund

Press Release from Vanguard

VALLEY FORGE, Pa., March 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanguard today added to its current environmental, social, and governance (ESG) fund offerings with Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock Fund. The new active equity fund will be managed by Wellington Management Company LLP and is expected to be available for investment in mid-2019.

Vanguard (PRNewsfoto/Vanguard)

"Vanguard's new Global ESG Select Stock Fund is taking a distinctive approach to ESG investing, seeking long-term outperformance through the selection of companies that integrate leading ESG practices into their corporate strategies," said Matthew Brancato, head of Vanguard's Portfolio Review Group.

Marrying active management experience with ESG expertise
While complementing Vanguard's existing index-based ESG offerings that adhere to exclusionary screening processes, the Global ESG Select Stock Fund will take a markedly different investment approach by employing an active portfolio integration strategy. Wellington Management will seek to outperform the FTSE All-World Index, a global benchmark that covers a majority of developed and emerging markets. In pursuit of this objective, Wellington Management will identify and select approximately 40 companies that they believe demonstrate exemplary long-standing ESG practices and have strong business fundamentals and management teams with proven track records of good capital allocation decisions for shareholders. The fund is expected to hold stocks over an extended time horizon, resulting in low portfolio turnover.

In addition to investment advisory responsibilities, Wellington Management will be responsible for governance activities for the fund. This will enable the fund managers to fully integrate proxy voting and company engagements into the fund's investment strategy.

Founded in 1928 and managing more than $1 trillion in assets, Wellington Management has a long and successful investment management history, including management of the nation's oldest balanced fund, the $100 billion Vanguard Wellington Fund. In addition, the firm has the breadth and depth of investment resources to integrate ESG considerations with its fundamental investment analysis. The firm has managed ESG-related investment strategies for more than ten years and currently manages nine dedicated ESG strategies. Wellington is Vanguard's largest and longest-serving external advisory partner, managing more than $336 billion on behalf of Vanguard across a wide variety of equity and bond mandates.

The portfolio managers for Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock Fund each have more than 20 years of investment management expertise:

  • Mark D. Mandel, CFA, serves as Wellington's vice chair, senior managing director, partner, and equity portfolio manager. In addition to Mr. Mandel's investment experience, he has an extensive background in research and analysis. Mr. Mandel previously served as Wellington's director of global industry research and oversaw a team that follows thousands of stocks and directly manages investments in diversified mandates, sector portfolios, and hedge funds.
  • Yolanda C. Courtines, CFA, serves as Wellington's senior managing director, partner, and equity portfolio manager. In addition to her investment and ESG research experience, Ms. Courtines brings deep international investment expertise to Wellington's team, specializing in international finance with a particular focus on European and Latin American banks. Prior to joining Wellington, Ms. Courtines worked for JPMorgan Chase, SG Cowen, Oppenheimer, and the World Bank.

The Global ESG Select Stock Fund is expected to be among the lowest-cost in the active ESG fund category with expense ratios of 0.45% and 0.55% for Admiral and Investor shares, respectively. By comparison, the average asset-weighted expense ratio of actively managed funds labeled as socially conscious by Morningstar is 0.69%.

The fund is designed for investors with balanced, diversified portfolios who wish to invest in companies with leading ESG practices and strong business fundamentals, as identified by Wellington Management. At times, the fund may hold companies that would be omitted by some exclusionary ESG strategies, so this strategy may not be ideal for investors seeking to avoid investing in particular sectors or companies involved in activities that are at odds with their individual values.

New fund complements existing low-cost ESG offerings
Vanguard currently offers three index-based, U.S.-domiciled options for socially conscious investors seeking broad, low-cost exposure to U.S. and international markets.

  • Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund (VFTAX), introduced in 2000, seeks to track the performance of large-and-mid-cap U.S. stocks screened for certain social and environmental criteria.
  • Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX), launched in 2018, seeks to track the performance of non-U.S., large-, mid-, and small-cap companies screened for certain environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria.
  • Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV), launched in 2018, seeks to track the performance of large-, mid-, and small-cap U.S. companies screened for certain environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria.

ESG resources for investors
To help investors better understand ESG investing, Vanguard offers "ESG, SRI and impact investing: A primer for decision-making," which outlines a practical framework for making informed decisions. The guide helps investors establish specific goals, evaluate potential options, and decide on an ESG approach based on their personal criteria and trade-off considerations.

About Vanguard
Vanguard is one of the world's largest investment management companies. As of January 31, 2019, Vanguard managed $5.2 trillion in global assets. The firm, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, offers 415 funds to its more than 20 million investors worldwide. For more information, visit vanguard.com.

Asset figures as of December 31, 2018 unless otherwise noted.

For more information about Vanguard funds, visit vanguard.com/fund prospectus to obtain a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are contained in the prospectus; read and consider it carefully before investing.

Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable with the issuing Fund other than in very large aggregations worth millions of dollars. Instead, investors must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares in the secondary market and hold those shares in a brokerage account. In doing so, the investor may incur brokerage commissions and may pay more than net asset value when buying and receive less than net asset value when selling.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. Investments in securities issued by non-U.S. companies are subject to risks including country/regional risk and currency risk. These are especially high in emerging markets. Funds that concentrate on a relatively narrow market sector face the risk of higher share-price volatility. Prices of small- and mid-capitalization stocks often fluctuate more than those of large-company stocks.

U.S. Patent Nos. 6,879,964; 7,337,138; 7,720,749; 7,925,573; 8,090,646; and 8,417,623.

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