EOS at Federated Hermes (EOS) is a world-leading stewardship service provider, advising on more than $1.5 trillion in assets to deliver corporate engagement and proxy voting services.

In this piece, we’ll take you through an example working day in the life of an EOS engager. Engagers are the trained specialists who carry out these stewardship services on behalf of EOS’s clients, including the UKRF. Proactive engagement with companies and industry bodies is at the heart of what EOS does and, as a result, every day is different.

The typical day begins…

The engager is likely to spend much of the morning managing forthcoming meetings. These engagements are ideally face-to-face, at board and executive committee level. As a result, significant effort goes into planning these meetings, beyond the practical aspects.

Much of the engager’s time will go into strategically planning the engagement approach for the companies that they have been allocated, identifying both the most pressing environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, as well as the engagement techniques that they will use. Their objectives are milestone-based, which allows them to:

Prioritise and select the meetings most important to their clients

Establish an appropriate agenda for the upcoming meetings

Develop a specific approach for each company

Set key goals for the representatives they meet to achieve

What this means for the UKRF

To give an example, the engager might be planning a meeting with a fashion retailer. Given the nature of the industry, they might focus on the company’s policies on waste management, human rights and board accountability for monitoring and improving working conditions.

If the engager discovers that the company is falling short in any of these areas, they will set an engagement objective to improve. If the company does not rise to the challenge and show positive action towards change in response to various escalation techniques, the engager will report this back to their clients.

After lunch…

EOS engagers connect not only with companies directly, but enter into dialogues with wider industry bodies, including lawmakers, committees and regulators, bringing all parties together with a common aim. So, in the afternoon, our engager might move on to drafting a consultation response, or a speech they are due to deliver at a forthcoming conference. This networking aspect is important, as it highlights the breadth of expertise and international reach of the EOS engagement team.

As a group, they are able to form views on best practice across both industry sectors and global locations – then take those views forward to key players with the correct regional knowledge, using the appropriate languages, and observing local culture and custom.

Late afternoon

Engagers may spend the rest of the day reviewing any upcoming ‘proxy voting ballots’ at their companies. As the name suggests, these are ballots taking place at companies where the engager is making vote recommendations to shareholders – in other words, their clients. (The final voting decision lies with the shareholder.)

Overall, the EOS engagement team makes voting recommendations for over 10,000 companies every year. Behind this lies a significant amount of research both into the company and into any voting policies or guidelines EOS itself may already have established. As a result, EOS relies on teamwork. It is equally probable that the afternoon may feature an info-share session or in-house webinar to keep the specialists up-to-date in areas and issues that are constantly changing and developing.

We hope this snapshot gives you an insight into the day-to-day activities of the EOS team of engagers.

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