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.
Ivo Knoepfel won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Development in ESG at the TBLI Conference Europe 2011, which took place in London on November 10th. Citing his selection, the judges panel said, "Mr. Knoepfel stands out by the continuous innovation that he brings to the market. He is always independent with a sharp mind and a good sense for new developments." Also shortlisted for the award were James Gifford, Executive Director of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, Reto Ringger founder of SAM Sustainable Asset Management and Globalance Bank, and the organization Sustainable Finance Geneva.