Elizabeth Levy Title: Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager Years with present firm: 7 Years in financial services: 15 Investment/asset class focus: Impact Investing
Asset Management Firm: Trillium Asset Management Firm’s headquarters: Boston Year firm was founded: 1982 Number of employees and/or partners: 47 employees, 7 partners Assets under management/advisement as of Dec. 31, 2018: $2.52 Billion
Trillium Asset Management is more than a strong asset manager. It’s also a vocal and active advocate for socially responsible behavior in the companies included in its portfolios — and it’s been one for decades.
Back in 1982, Joan Bavaria started Trillium to “integrate information such as environmental and social concerns into portfolio decisions for her clients,” says Portfolio Manager Elizbeth Levy. This year, these efforts culminated in Trillium’s All Cap Core Strategy winning the Asset Manager Award for impact investing.
In 2018, the strategy “was able to keep up with markets for the first three quarters of the year and handle the volatile markets experiences in the fourth quarter by notably protecting on the downside,” according to Envestnet analysts. It also outperformed the Russell 3000 index by roughly 3%, putting it in the top third of its peers for the year.
What makes Trillium successful is “how well we all work together,” explains Levy. The firm is owned by employees with a year or more of service.
“At Trillium, we believe we invest in the best companies and then help to make them better. We do this through dialogue and through engaging in the shareholder resolution process, as well as by voting … at all annual meetings,” she said.
Envestnet agrees, noting: “Trillium is an industry leader in socially responsible stock selection and shareholder activism, advancing a long list of environmental and social issues. The firm’s fundamental equity research process identifies high-quality companies with strong management of ESG risks and opportunities related to sustainability challenges, such as climate change, water scarcity, access to healthcare and global income inequality.”
Last year, Levy says, “There was a lot of uncertainty. We saw the markets be very volatile: sharply down, recovering, back down again — a bit of a roller coaster through the year. But we really stuck to our discipline, which is integrating ESG into the fundamental research as well as our high quality approach and valuation to keep doing what we’ve been doing. And we felt that really helped us outperform our benchmark during 2018 and [into] 2019.”
Envestnet lauded the firm’s ability to select companies “meeting positive thresholds of performance on ESG issues such as strong workplace practices, a demonstrated record of producing safe products for consumers, protecting the environment, fair compensation for employees and executives, and respecting and upholding human rights.”
Plus, in the “last six months of 2018, Trillium filed 24 shareholder proposals and engaged with many more companies,” according to Envestnet, and it has taken the lead in providing “evidence and testimony to the Securities and Exchange Commission on the value of shareholder proposals.”
Videos of the award winners can be viewed here:
- How Top Asset Managers Stay Ahead of the Pack
- Top Asset Managers Share Market Outlooks, Strategies
- Envestnet Advisor Award Winners: Putting Principles Into Practice
Profiles of the individual award winners are found here:
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Frontier Asset Management, Fund Strategist Model
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Brown Advisory, Large Cap Growth Strategy
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Federated Investors Strategic Value Strategy
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Baird Mid-Cap Growth Strategy
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Copeland Capital Management, Small Cap Dividend Growth Strategy
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: WCM Focused Growth International ADR Strategy
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Westchester Capital Management, Merger Strategy
- 2019 Asset Manager Awards: Segall Bryant & Hamill, Short Term Taxable Bond Strategy
- Essential Advisor Award Winners of 2019