The Intesa Sanpaolo Group’s product ranges includes ethical funds made available by Eurizon Capital SGR, the company specialising in asset management for retail and institutional customers, and by Fideuram whose operations target high profile customers.
Ethical funds are mutual investment funds that invest in the financial instruments of issuers (Companies, international organisations and governments), selected based on sustainability and economic/financial performance criteria.
Eurizon Capital's “Ethical System” and Fideuram's ethical funds
Eurizon Capital SGR was the first operator in Italy, from as early on as 1997, to offer ethical funds, i.e. mutual investment funds in financial instruments of issuers (companies, international organisations and governments), with a high social and environmental responsibility profile. These funds envisage clear, well-defined positive and negative selection criteria for the securities to be included in their portfolio (listed in the Prospectus and Fund Management Regulations), a Sustainability Committee (external to and independent from the SGR) and the donation of revenues. The experience gained in managing these products has led to managers fine-tuning their selection criteria over the years and, in 2002, adopting ethical benchmarks in order to provide objective financial measurement of results.
In asset management and the development of sustainable and responsible investment products, Eurizon Capital SGR has confirmed its commitment to activities in line with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) signed in September 2015. The company is also a signatory of the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Eurizon Capital SGR's range of ethical funds is now made up of an equity fund and two bond funds, all registered in Italy. These products have the aim of gradually increasing the value of capital subscribed by implementing an investment policy based on strict ethical principles.
Investments in ethical funds are selected on the basis of positive criteria (inclusive principle) to identify the presence of good social and environmental governance in companies or institutions under analysis and negative (exclusive principle) for those areas of activity considered to be in contrast with the ethical principles asserted by the funds. The “best in class” principle is also used to identify companies that, in certain markets at risk, stand out for their social-environmental initiatives. Environmental screening is entirely subject to the “best in class” principle, given that all major listed companies have a notable impact on the environment, and this principle facilitates the selection of the most “virtuous” securities.
During 2016, new benchmarks provided by MSCI, one of the first companies at a global level to produce ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) indexes and research, were added to the Ethical System. At the same time, the asset management company introduced an additional research service focussed on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues supplied by MSCI ESG. The adoption of these criteria led to a change in the investable universe, and consequently the inclusion or exclusion of certain issuing bodies from the fund portfolio. The reasons for inclusion cover: programmes to reduce greenhouse gases, the protection of biodiversity, the use of clean technologies, the involvement of suppliers and protection of minorities in the workforce; the reasons for exclusion include involvement in the arms sector, the breach of anti-trust rules, accounting fraud and discrimination in the granting of loans.
In 2016 Eurizon Capital SGR supported its own institutional customers through the management of assets with ESG criteria, providing assistance in choosing from available solutions and according to the expectations, needs and awareness of these issues of each customer. Eurizon manages seven institutional mandates with various ESG approaches for approximately 870 million euro.
During the year, a new fund was launched – Eurizon Flessibile Azionario – which incorporates environmental, social and governance issues in the process to select issuers to invest in.
Besides the ethical funds of Eurizon Capital SGR for retail and institutional customers, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group offers ethical funds managed by Fideuram, the company serving high-profile customers.
In 2016, Eurizon Capital SGR invested approximately 900 million euro (1.3% of total funds managed by Eurizon Capital) in ethical funds. For Fideuram, segment capital at the end of 2016 amounted to around 40 million euro.
FONDITALIA ETHICAL INVESTMENT
Fonditalia Ethical Investment is the new socially responsible investment solution of Fideuram which integrates income objectives with financial sustainability and social value aspects. The sub-fund invests in the bonds of those States that stand out for their special focus on social and environmental issues, in bonds issued by Supranational Bodies in favour of developing economies and in funds specialised in micro-finance, fair trade funds, equity funds and shares with a positive impact at social and/or environmental level.
An Ethics Committee comprising managers, qualified experts from academic communities and professionals with proven experience in the field, provides opinions, where required, on the ethics of investments.
A further element characterising the ethics behind the sub-fund is its commitment to supporting scientific research, through the placement of share units and through a donation in favour of the Italian Association for Multiple Sclerosis, AISM, and its Foundation (FISM), of an amount which is proportional to fund fees.