To invest sustainably means to assume responsibility

To invest sustainably means to assume responsibility
To invest sustainably means to assume responsibility
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Paul Severin interviewed Heinz Bednar, CEO of Erste Asset Management on the importance of sustainable investments.

Mutual dependencies – ESG:
Environment – Social – Governance

Source: Erste Asset Management

Source: Erste Asset Management


heinz_bednarHeinz Bednar:

CEO of Erste Asset Management and responsible for the asset management of Erste Group for more than ten years. Since 2007 also president of the Association of Austrian Investment Companies (Vereinigung Österreichischer Investmentgesellschaften, VÖIG).

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability means to employ the available resources in a responsible and long-term manner. The interdependencies on the social, environmental, and economic level also have to be integrated into corporate and personal behaviour.

How important is this issue to you as asset manager?

We early started to offer our clients the opportunity to invest in funds with an ethical-ecological focus. Our first sustainable investment fund was launched as early as 2001. With assets under management of about EUR 3.9bn we are the market leader in Austria and are also among the most important providers of ethical-sustainable investment funds on an international scale. We generally exclude companies that deal in arms from all our actively managed investment funds.

heinz_bednar_2How do you as an asset manager integrate the topic of sustainability in your investment approach?

The core of our investment approach is our own sustainability rating which we carry out in collaboration with external research agencies. It is based on our in-house sustainability model. In evaluating the individual companies, we also pay attention to exclusion criteria and the overall sustainability aspects of the company.

How stringent are the criteria in your sustainability rating? 

We have rated about 3,500 companies with regard to their sustainability. Given the strict approach of the sustainability team, only 36% of these companies have been deemed investable.

Do you run the risk of losing yield by reducing the investment universe that drastically?

We have to deal with this prejudice quite frequently. The performance of our investment funds paints a different picture. Sustainable investment strategies are at least as successful as traditional investments. At the same time our approach significantly reduces extreme price fluctuations, so-called tail risks.

heinz_bednar_3How important is the topic of voting & engagement in this area?

With all our investment funds, Erste Asset Management gets involved as active shareholder. Last year, for example, we attended 170 annual general meetings. In addition, our sustainability team holds active dialogues with numerous companies whose aim is to increase transparency and sustainability.

What is the main difference to a traditional investment approach in your opinion?

I would say the main difference is the fact that both the investor in sustainable companies and subsequently the investor in our sustainable funds contribute to society. To invest sustainably means to assume responsibility.

Source: EAM

Source: EAM


Legal disclaimer

This document is an advertisement. Unless indicated otherwise, source: Erste Asset Management GmbH. Our languages of communication are German and English.

The prospectus for UCITS (including any amendments) is published in accordance with the provisions of the InvFG 2011 in the currently amended version. Information for Investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG is prepared for the alternative investment funds (AIF) administered by Erste Asset Management GmbH pursuant to the provisions of the AIFMG in connection with the InvFG 2011. The fund prospectus, Information for Investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG, and the Key Information Document can be viewed in their latest versions at the web site within the section mandatory publications or obtained in their latest versions free of charge from the domicile of the management company and the domicile of the custodian bank. The exact date of the most recent publication of the fund prospectus, the languages in which the Key Information Document is available, and any additional locations where the documents can be obtained can be viewed on the web site A summary of investor rights is available in German and English on the website as well as at the domicile of the management company.

The management company can decide to revoke the arrangements it has made for the distribution of unit certificates abroad, taking into account the regulatory requirements.

Detailed information on the risks potentially associated with the investment can be found in the fund prospectus or Information for investors pursuant to § 21 AIFMG of the respective fund. If the fund currency is a currency other than the investor's home currency, changes in the corresponding exchange rate may have a positive or negative impact on the value of his investment and the amount of the costs incurred in the fund - converted into his home currency.

This document serves as additional information for our investors and is based on the knowledge of the staff responsible for preparing it at the time of preparation. Our analyses and conclusions are general in nature and do not take into account the individual needs of our investors in terms of earnings, taxation, and risk appetite. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of the future performance of a fund.

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