At Unigestion, managing risk lies at the heart of our investment philosophy. We believe that integrating ESG criteria into our investment processes is essential to better managing the risk of our investments and therefore positively influences the long-term risk-adjusted performance of our portfolios.
We believe that well-governed businesses with responsible practices can make a positive contribution to our clients’ portfolios over the long term. Sustainability will be a long-term driver for change in markets, countries, sectors and companies that will create opportunities for fruitful investment.
Our Commitment to Society
Asset managers have a major role to play in helping solve some of the most pressing problems the world currently faces. As a link between the providers of funding and those who need it, we are in a privileged position. We must make the most of the opportunity we have to improve the world we live in, as well as grow the value of our clients’ assets.
We believe that asset managers will increasingly be assessed on the values they uphold, the ethics they promote and the wider role they have to improve the society we all live in. We must demonstrate our capacity to develop meaningful investment solutions that meet today’s challenges and help finance sustainable economic growth.
Our ESG philosophy
ESG risks are complex and rapidly evolving. We approach ESG in the same way as all investment risk, carefully assessing the potential impacts and opportunities through a combination of systematic and discretionary analysis, research and monitoring.
We believe that well-governed businesses with responsible practices can make a positive contribution to our clients’ portfolios over the long term.
Sustainability will be a long-term driver for change in markets, countries, sectors and companies that will create opportunities for fruitful investment. Therefore, as an investor, we want to participate in the investment returns these opportunities will generate.
We strive to be responsible stewards of our clients’ assets within a framework of strong governance and transparency. Effective stewardship benefits companies, investors and the society as a whole.
Our stewardship and direct engagement activity focuses on the ESG factors we believe will have the greatest impact for long-term investors.
As an active and responsible owner, we incorporate ESG criteria when voting our shares to help drive positive change.
As a responsible investor, we have established two pillars to our ESG beliefs – integration and active ownership.
We integrate E, S and G considerations throughout our investment processes through universe screening, investment selection, portfolio construction and engagement.
We are committed to continuously increasing transparency of reporting to clients on ESG impacts and our active ownership activity.
Our RI Achievements
We have been managing SRI portfolios since 2004. Today we manage USD 12.7 billion* of assets according to various ESG criteria.
Consistent with our commitment to being a responsible long-term investor, and with our duty to act in the best interests of our clients, Unigestion has been a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI) since 2013 and remains committed to global initiatives supporting and promoting responsible investing.
PRI Summary Scorecard 2019
Unigestion is an active participant in the wider SRI community:
- We are members of Swiss Sustainable Finance, an organisation created to promote sustainability in the Swiss financial market and to strengthen Switzerland’s position as a leading centre worldwide for sustainable finance.
- Our CEO is a member of the board of Sustainable Finance Geneva.
Our Responsible Investmen Objectives
We want to fully integrate ESG considerations into our business. By 2023, we aim to meet the following objectives:
- Systematically integrate ESG within the investment process across all assets under management
- Increase our ability to offer customised ESG investment solutions to our clients with the objective of increasing bespoke ESG mandates.
- Increase our engagement initiatives from 35 to 75 companies each year.
- Use ESG considerations to improve how we operate, not just how we invest.
- Increase participation in global, industry-wide efforts to promote good ESG practices.
- 100% of assets under management are to be subject to the common exclusion list, determined by our Responsible Investment Committee.
- Increased transparency: standardising and implementing ESG and engagement metrics across client reports.
Our Long Term Goals
We focus on creating long-term, sustainable value for our clients, for our stakeholders and for society. Our approach is structured around the following overarching goals:
1. Promoting a purpose that is linked to the needs of society
We believe the greatest contribution Unigestion can make to society is through our core activity, investing capital, by focusing on three key objectives:
- Helping the world’s population fund their retirement or meet other life goals
- Financing the long-term needs of the real economy by channelling capital to finance growth
- Creating the necessary architecture to help solve social and environmental problems, such as facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy
2. Ensuring sustainable corporate governance with a philanthropic purpose
Unigestion’s ownership structure is designed to ensure our long-term stability and independence, while allowing us to fulfil our philanthropic aims. Our largest shareholder is the Famsa Foundation. Established by our Chairman Bernard Sabrier, Famsa supports a wide range of non-profit projects in the charitable, educational, cultural and medical fields. Since 2011, Famsa has contributed more than CHF 11 million to projects globally, with a particular focus on supporting children’s rights.
Famsa’s goal is to act as a strategic shareholder to benefit all stakeholders. We have put in place strong governance and succession plans in place to safeguard Unigestion’s long-term future and ensure it retains an independent Board of Directors with the best possible experience, expertise and reputation.
3. Ensuring our day-to-day activities promote a sustainable economy
We always aim to conduct our activities in a way that resonates with our core values. For example, we try to reduce our environmental impact through buying green electricity for our offices, recycling extensively and subsidising the use of green transport where possible.
4. Aligning our organisation with the standards we demand in our engagement campaign
We practice what we preach. We apply the same rigour to our company as we demand from others through our engagement activities. This includes adhering to the same rules that we advocate for the composition of our Board of Directors in terms of independence and governance.
5. Promoting education around responsible investment
We promote education around responsible investment for our clients and our employees, regularly organising and sponsoring related initiatives and events.