November 24, 2020

2020 Asset Owner Stewardship Survey

Below is an excerpt from ISS’ thought leadership paper “2020 Asset Owner Stewardship Survey.” The full paper is available for download from the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) online library.


  • The focus on stewardship continues to grow among asset owners.
  • Respondents indicate a slightly stronger focus on engaging with companies compared to that on assessing ESG risks and opportunities. However, there is greater interest in bringing ESG assessment in-house.
  • The majority of respondents report that the primary driver for a focus on ESG is to improve long-term competitiveness and sustainability of a company. The Department of Labor’s June guidance on ESG did not seem to have a widespread impact on the respondents.
  • COVID-19 has led some investors to prioritize certain sectors, such as the health care industry.
  • More than half the respondents leverage outside providers in identifying the companies regarding focus topics, while about 25% rely on internal research.
  • More than one-third of respondents measure the progress made by their stewardship actions, and more than half of those who do not presently measure progress would like to. However, even those who are measuring progress feel they are lacking the proper tools and data.

By Ariane de Vienne, Global Head of Asset Owner Strategy, ISS

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