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Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association Makes Clear Commitment To Sustainable Finance

The Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association (SFAMA) has joined with Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) to draw up detailed recommendations for the Swiss asset management industry on how to implement sustainable practices effectively. The recommendations and associated core messages are intended to actively help asset
managers incorporate sustainability criteria into their investment processes.

As SSF’s latest Swiss Sustainable Investment Market Study 2020 shows, around a third of assets under management in this country (CHF 1,163 billion) are already invested sustainably. SFAMA and SSF are convinced that this trend will continue and have therefore drawn up detailed recommendations for SFAMA members on implementing a sustainable investment policy throughout the investment process. The intention behind this joint initiative is to promote a sustainable Swiss financial sector and to provide active support and guidance to its key players, specifically asset managers.

“In a globalized economy, the success of corporate strategies is increasingly dependent on ESG factors. Integrating them into financial analysis and risk management activities can contribute to increasing profitability and minimizing risk,” said Sabine Döbeli, CEO of SSF. “Asset managers are aware of the importance of ESG factors, and the industry knows its responsibility in terms of facing up to global challenges. Sustainability has to be part of an asset manager’s DNA,” explained Markus Fuchs, Managing Director of SFAMA.

Factoring ESG criteria into the investment strategy – as a core element of the investment philosophy – plays a part in generating higher risk-adjusted returns over the long term. Asset managers therefore need to assess the social, economic, and environmental impact of their investments and embed their values within a policy of sustainability. The key to implementing sustainability criteria successfully is transparency. Standardized, measurable reporting is vital in this respect, but transparency also requires companies and research providers to make reliable, high-quality data available.

The recommendations from SSF and SFAMA are primarily intended to inform asset managers and are targeted in particular at organizations that are still in the early stages of ESG integration. The recommendations are mainly technical in nature and designed to serve as a useful guide for asset managers. They are focused on implementing a sustainable investment process and cover the topics of governance, investment policy and strategy, risk management, transparency, and reporting. They explain the role of the board of directors and executive board, for example, along with a range of sustainability approaches and transparent reporting methods.

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