This report, Putting resources where stewardship ambitions are, was written by the Thinking Ahead Institute (TAI) and commissioned by the PRI as part of our Active Ownership 2.0 programme, which sets out a framework for the more ambitious stewardship needed to deliver against beneficiaries’ interests and improve the sustainability and resilience of the financial system.

Inadequate resources pose a critical challenge to advancing stewardship within the investment industry. The key objectives of this report are to provide an insight into the current level of stewardship resources within the industry, and to promote a structured measurement approach that could support better, more deliberate stewardship resourcing practices. 

Key findings

More measurement 

The report advocates using a structured approach to measure stewardship resources. This measurement model was tested in the Stewardship Resourcing Technical Working Group and via the Global Stewardship Resourcing Survey which collected answers from 69 organisations managing $16 trillion in AUM in total. The report includes key findings and learnings from this survey.  

More resources: TAI suggests that stewardship resources need to be twice-as-large as the current industry level 

The Global Stewardship Resourcing Survey showed that respondents allocate approximately 7% of their total investment resources to stewardship. TAI estimates that the industry average is likely to be lower, around or lower than 5%. This is a TAI estimation based on available data and their industry experience. The current level of stewardship resources in the investment industry is inadequate and not fit-for-purpose. TAI suggests that the industry needs to double stewardship resources over time to meet the increased demands and needs. Realistically, this transition would be multi-year. 

The Stewardship Resources Assessment Framework 

Building upon these learnings, we developed a Stewardship Resources Assessment Framework as a new industry tool. It is designed to serve the industry by:  

  • empowering asset owners to understand resourcing practices and have productive conversations with asset managers,  

  • demonstrating to asset managers that resource levels are being monitored,

  • providing a reference point for requests to grow stewardship resources, and  

  • operating as a tool for organisations to self-assess their resource levels.  

Key recommendations  

Better resourced stewardship is desirable and necessary to effectively manage systemic risks and maximise overall long-term value for clients and beneficiaries. But it can only happen if the right incentives are in place.  

The report proposes that the following three factors could act as positive catalysts towards doubling stewardship resources across the industry.  

  • Improved data: we envisage a future state in which the data and analysis of stewardship resourcing is significantly improved.  

  • More productive asset owner/asset manager engagement: with the support of the Stewardship Resources Assessment Framework, asset owners could, and should, exert more influence over asset managers.  

  • The maturing of stewardship: Stewardship is becoming more joined-up through industry working groups and increased focus on activities seeking to address systemic risk. Stewardship is increasingly becoming a central value proposition for asset manager solutions. This momentum should enhance stewardship effectiveness and increase focus on its measurement, reinforcing the greater benefits of increased resources in stewardship.  

The industry can only address the issue of insufficient resources if resources are measured, and a measurement approach focusing on full time equivalents (FTEs) would allow for industry wide useability and comparability. 

This report aims to provide guidance to asset owners and asset managers so that they can develop a stewardship resourcing measurement process and evolve their stewardship strategy. Additionally, it seeks to facilitate deeper engagement between asset owners and asset managers regarding stewardship goals, activities, and outcomes.  

More information

For more information, contact [email protected]

For more information about the report and the Thinking Ahead Institute, visit the Thinking Ahead Institute’s stewardship resourcing page.

Download the report pdf (from the Thinking Ahead Institute website).

Download the Stewardship Resources Assessment Framework  

Download the Data report

Further reading 

Why we need to talk about resourcing stewardship.