onValues and Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen Schweiz today published the results of the regular survey of the Swiss sustainable investment market per end of December 2011, which includes sustainable assets managed in Switzerland through funds, mandates and structured products. A total of 20 managers reported their assets under management in a range of different sustainable investment styles.
According to the survey, sustainable investment volumes in Switzerland remained steady at around 42 billion Swiss francs in 2011 despite the difficult market environment. In 2011, lower investment volumes in funds and structured products were offset by growth in mandates. Institutional investors strengthened their position at the expense of private investors, leaving each group with a fifty per cent share of the market. Bonds saw their market share rise by ten percentage points to 31 per cent in 2011, while equities' share of the market fell by the same amount and now stands at 53 per cent.
Looking at market trends, Ivo Knoepfel, the managing director of onValues and co-author of the study, points to the growing significance of ESG integration and active shareholder approaches: "Investments where shareholder voting rights are being exercised with consideration of ESG issues have once again grown sharply and have now reached the impressive level of 11.4 billion francs." He goes on to say, "Providers have begun integrating sustainability aspects into their financial analyses directly, so 9.1 billion Swiss francs are now invested in line with this approach. This development could be the key to a wider use of sustainable investments by occupational pension schemes in Switzerland."
Download the report
«Sustainable Investments in Switzerland 2011»
Mistra, The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, has published the results of its 2011 review of external asset managers. The review, which was carried out by onValues on behalf of Mistra for the seventh consecutive year, examined the progress of Mistra's asset managers in integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into investment decision-making and active ownership. Following the review, onValues presented Mistra's Asset Management Committee with results and recommendations, and provided constructive feedback to the asset managers.
In 2011 Mistra's managers made notable progress in ESG integration and the development of more-sophisticated active ownership practices, particularly in the area of company engagement. The 2011 review also focused especially on Mistra's new emerging market and private equity managers. The report, downloadable below, provides details on manager progress in these and other areas of sustainable investment.
Mistra's SEK 2.7 billion (€300 million) endowment is invested through thirteen mandates and funds managed by nine different asset managers. Mistra explicitly requires the managers to take account of ESG issues.
Download the public report
«Mistra Foundation Asset Management Review 2011»
One of Switzerland's largest pension schemes, the Swiss Post Pension Fund, recently implemented a CHF130m microfinance debt mandate based on onValues advice. This is probably one of the largest investments in microfinance ever done by a pension fund globally. Rolf Maurer, Investment Manager at the fund, told Responsible-investor.com that the mandate had been awarded as a long-term investment: "We began taking a closer look after our investment committee directed us to do so in 2010," he added. The fund carried out the initial research on the asset class via its own internal investment team. Maurer told Responsible-investor.com: "From the beginning it was clear to us that the investment had to be worth it from a social and financial standpoint. The internal study revealed that this was the case, both in terms of risk/return and especially diversification. This is why we went ahead". The fund subsequently hired onValues, working in cooperation with Ecofin, the Zurich-based investment consultant, to carry out the manager search for the mandate.
A group of PRI signatories and Global Compact LEAD companies are joining forces to improve the communication of ESG value drivers beyond reporting and make sure that sustainability performance is rewarded by financial markets. The goal of this project is to develop and refine content and process innovation around the communication of ESG value drivers at the company investor interface. Specialist consultancies Contrast Capital and onValues are providing project management and research support to this project.