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What is HL doing to invest responsibly?

We run through the key things HL is doing to invest your money responsibly across our investment solutions, including the Wealth Shortlist, as well as the HL Multi-Manager and HL Select range of funds.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

This article is more than 6 months old

It was correct at the time of publishing. Our views and any references to tax, investment and pension rules may have changed since then.

Our vision for ESG is to inspire confidence for a sustainable, resilient, and successful financial future.

HL funds use an ESG-integrated investment process to invest in sustainable and resilient businesses which help generate sustainable revenues, profits and dividends. ESG factors are making up an increasing part of the analysis process, including in our Wealth Shortlist.

The HL Multi-Manager and HL Select funds are managed by our sister company, Hargreaves Lansdown Fund Managers Ltd.

HL have been integrating ESG factors into their investment processes for a number of years now. However, ESG best practice is continually evolving, and the new ESG Investment Policy strengthens commitment here. It helps make sure they’re using HL’s influence to help build a better future for everyone.

Here’s a closer look at the key things they’re doing to invest your money responsibly across our HL Multi-Manager and HL Select range of funds.

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you, ask for financial advice.


Exclusionary screening (otherwise known as negative screening) means avoiding companies or countries on the basis of traditional moral values, standards, or norms.

Where possible HL prefer to engage rather than exclude. Simply excluding companies from the investment universe will prevent HL from helping them become more sustainably run enterprises. It also often results in a transfer of ownership to private markets where they won’t be held to account.

However, some businesses engage in practises that damage society or the environment to the point where they constitute an unacceptably high risk to investors.

These companies typically pose greater investment risks as they could be hit with large fines, increased costs, or reputational damage. Some might even be left with ‘stranded assets’, those which become devalued, or uneconomical to use, because of regulatory change or changes in demand.

Across the HL Select funds and the segregated mandates held within the HL Multi-Manager funds, where they directly manage the assets, the following exclusions are imposed:

Thermal coal power generation and extraction

Coal power is responsible for a significant proportion of the carbon dioxide emissions we create. Rapid emission reductions are needed to satisfy the global commitment to limit emissions made under the Paris Agreement, and this starts with removing coal from our energy mix.

Companies that derive a significant percentage of their revenue from thermal coal could be disproportionately affected by a faster-than-expected shift away from coal.

The HL Select fund managers and appointed managers of segregated mandates won’t invest in companies that generate 20% or more of their revenues from thermal coal power generation and extraction.

Oil sands extraction

The overall emissions footprint of oil sands is significantly higher than the norm for the oil industry. Oil sands production is also related to a number of other environmental and human rights concerns, including air and water pollution, rising cancer rates, and abuses of Indigenous Peoples’ collective human rights.

Companies involved in these actions run the danger of having their reputations damaged and are more likely to incur future liabilities.

The HL Select fund managers and appointed managers of segregated mandates won’t invest in companies that generate 20% or more of their revenues from oil sands extraction.

Controversial weapons

Controversial weapons are those that have a disproportionately negative humanitarian impact on the civilian population, the consequences of which are frequently felt for several generations after armed conflicts have finished. These include biological and chemical weapons, cluster munitions, and antipersonnel landmines.

The HL Select fund managers and appointed managers of segregated mandates won’t invest in companies that generate revenues from the production, maintenance, sale, or research and development of controversial weapons. But also components/ services that are considered tailor-made and essential for the lethal use of the weapon.

United Nations Global Compact violators

The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) is a set of ten internationally endorsed standards on human rights, labour, the environment, and corruption. They were developed to inspire companies all over the world to embrace socially and ecologically conscious practices.

Companies whose actions violate these standards could pose greater investment risks as a result of poor governance and management of their own operations. This could seriously harm their reputations and create future problems.

The HL Select fund managers and appointed managers of segregated mandates won’t invest in persistent violators of the UNGC principles. A ‘violation’ occurs if a company is in breach of at least one of the UNGC principles for a continuous period of three years.

Third-party funds

Where HL invest in third party funds through HL Fund Managers, and funds on the Wealth Shortlist, we don’t have the power to enforce exclusions.

Instead, we commit to engaging with fund managers who invest in companies that would otherwise breach our exclusions criteria. We then report the results of our engagement to investors through our fund updates and annual engagement report.

Net zero

Net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests for instance. Reducing emissions is vital to making sure we avert the worst impacts of climate change.

We expect all fund groups across HL investment solutions to pledge to net zero by 2050 or earlier, and to be working towards creating a robust transition plan to support this pledge. Those that haven’t set a decarbonisation target will face divestment after a two-year engagement period if they don’t comply or could face being removed from the Wealth Shortlist.

Principles for Responsible Investment

The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is a commitment to adopt and implement the six principles, listed below.

Principle 1: We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.

Principle 2: We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.

Principle 3: We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.

Principle 4: We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.

Principle 5: We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.

Principle 6: We will report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

All the fund groups HL Fund managers invest with, and those on the Wealth Shortlist are expected to be a signatory of PRI, or if not applicable, their country equivalent commitment to responsible investment.

We’ll engage with groups that don’t comply over a period of two years and funds ultimately face the risk of divestment if they don’t come up with a solution or exclusion from the Wealth Shortlist.

HL Fund Managers has been a signatory to the PRI since 2021.


Stewardship involves the active oversight of investments and can include a range of activities, including due diligence research, engagement and voting. Effective stewardship can contribute towards sustainable, long-term value creation for investors.

A key way HL delivers stewardship is through ESG risk monitoring. HL obtains insights which allows more informed engagement, investment, and divestment decisions on behalf of clients. We do this through due-diligence questionnaires, regular fund manager and company meetings, and ongoing quantitative and investment risk monitoring.

HL has recently bolstered its in-house ESG Analysis team and the team contributes to ESG risk monitoring and oversees our analysis processes.

Why ESG investing matters to everyone and how to use it to future-proof a portfolio


HL engages with the companies it invests in, and the fund groups it invests with, in order to influence policies and behaviours to the benefit of long-term investors.

Here’s what our engagement process looks like:

HL's responsible investment engagment breakdown


Participating in proxy votes is an important way for active investors to use their bargaining power to push for positive change and influence corporate behaviour on a range of issues.

HL fund managers always look to vote at meetings of the companies they hold in the HL Select funds, unless they’re in the process of selling out of the share. They take advice on voting from Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), who have a long track record of monitoring and advising on corporate governance best practice.

Within the HL Multi-Manager range, we delegate voting responsibility to the underlying fund managers.

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Want to learn more?

If you want to learn more about responsible investing, explore our responsible investment section.

It includes helpful tips and tricks to investment ideas to help you get started investing responsibly.


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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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