FEM logo
Fund EcoMarket

the sustainable, responsible and ethical investment information hub

SwissRe switch all assets to ESG indices

Reports in the FT and elsewhere today announce the important news that SwissRe now integrates Environmental, Social and Governance issues across all their equity and fixed income investment assets.

They are doing so by using benchmarks based on the highly regarded MSCI ESG methodology.

My opinion on this is that this is an unambiguous and important signal to investors.

Insurers and reinsurers are in the business of understanding and managing risk.  So, when a company with a reputation such as SwissRe  states that ESG should be formally integrated into investment processes investors should take note.

I would however urge caution with regard to terminology – the longstanding challenge of my area of business.  The FT and others refers to this as switching to ‘Ethical Indices’.

Whilst some will agree with this label others would not.

For many investors the use of the term ‘ethical’ implies that values based investment decision making  (eg avoiding armaments, tobacco or pornography).  There is of course a fine line in this regard, as demonstrated by Axa’s decision to exclude tobacco stocks across the board last year.

Given the wording of the SwissRe media release I would suggest that this shift in strategy relates entirely to sound longer term risk management – rather than making values based judgements.

Either way I very much welcome this display of leadership and hope many other investors and insurers will soon follow suit.

  • For information on other investors who bring ESG into investment decision making see the ‘Corporate SRI Activity’ filter on www.FundEcoMarket.co.uk .  (Please note the information we publish on this topic is not ‘whole of market’ as we rely on fund managers bringing this to our attention and responding to our surveys.)

My thanks go to our friends at Synaptics for bringing this important news to my attention!

As ever, I can be contacted on Julia@sriServices.co.uk .

 

 =====

Swiss Re among first in the re/insurance industry to integrate ESG benchmarks into its investment decisions

06 July 2017, Zurich

  • Swiss Re is among the first in the re/insurance industry to switch to benchmarks that systematically integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria
  • Publication launched today by Swiss Re explains why ESG integration makes economic sense for long term investors
  • Swiss Re selected benchmarks based on the MSCI ESG methodology for its equities and fixed income portfolios

Swiss Re announced today that it has already consistently integrated ESG considerations into its investment process since the start of 2017. The company is convinced that taking ESG criteria into account makes economic sense and reduces downside risks especially for long-term investors. By implementing ESG benchmarks, Swiss Re has taken a step forward from considering ESG as an “add-on” approach to making it an integral part of its investment process.

Sign Up to our Newsletter

If you are a Financial Services Industry professional you can sign up for our newsletter

Click Here

Latest News

FCA opens discussion on impact of climate change and green finance on financial services
October 15, 2018

SRI Services welcomes today’s announcement, which reads as follows: FCA opens a discussion on the impact of climate change and green finance on financial services Press Releases Published: 15/10/2018 Last updated: 15/10/2018 The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published a Discussion Paper on climate change and green finance. The effects of climate change and the associated transition to […]

New PRA report: The Impact of climate change on the UK banking sector
September 30, 2018

The Bank of England has taken a leadership position on climate change for a number of years. Governor Mark Carney’s ‘Tragedy of the horizons’ speech in 2015 set the scene for how the Bank viewed the issue of climate risk. Their subsequent work on the FSB TCFD framework has put climate change on the agenda for […]

How not to do SRI. Guardian article on Goldman Sachs ‘Just’ fund
September 30, 2018

I am not close enough to say whether or not the specifics of this article are correct, yet none of it really surprises me… The financial services community has a reputation for audacity and struggles to earn trust. Reading this article makes the risks associated with the SRI market ‘going mainstream’ very clear. The piece […]