RI Briefing, November 23: Deutsche reviews asset management business

RI’s regular round-up of responsible investing news

Deutsche Bank says it is reviewing its global asset management operation as it seeks an “optimal business mix” and a leadership role in each of its businesses. “All strategic options are being considered,” it said, adding the review covers all of the funds unit globally except for the DWS franchise in Germany, Europe and Asia.

US banks Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase have been removed from the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability Index, as part of a twice-yearly re-ranking. Other firms removed include: Advanced Micro Devices, Eli Lilly & Co., Brazil’s Petrobras, Raytheon and Shire plc. Additions include: Alcoa, Caterpillar, Diageo, Fluor Corp., Ingersoll-Rand, Reed Elsevier and Starbucks. The index ranks leadership in sustainability reporting.

Ceres, the investor coalition, has backed the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. And Deutsche Asset Management’s global head Kevin Parker said: “The IPCC report is further confirmation for investors not just of the reality of climate change but of the urgent need to hedge against the growing risk of devastating climate events in many parts of the world.”

China has launched an analysis of the environmental responsibility of over 2,000 A-share listed companies, according the China Daily. The paper, which cited the China Forum of Environmental Journalists, said 6,000 volunteers and 100 environmental domestic protection organisations will investigate the firms. The results are due in December 2012.

Fund management chiefs Bill Gross of Pimco and Larry Fink of BlackRock have given qualified support to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, suggesting in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the movement has legitimate concerns.
The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (the US SIF) said the OWS movement “speaks to many of the issues and concerns raised by sustainable and responsible investors over the past several decades”.

KPMG International and Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) have set up a global alliance “to help companies measure and enhance” their corporate sustainability performance. It will use SAM’s sustainability benchmarking and KPMG’s Climate Change and Sustainability consulting services.Dexia Asset Management, the European SRI pioneer, says it is “bearing up well” in the midst of market turmoil and the search for a new shareholding structure. Assets under management were €80.5bn at the end of the third quarter, said CEO Naïm Abou-Jaoudé – which is down from €86.4bn at the end of 2010.

Terra Firma Capital Partners has become the latest leading private equity house to sign up to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Terra Firma, chaired by industry figure Guy Hands, has invested more than €14bn of equity since launch in 2004.

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Christian Brothers Investments Services (CBIS), and Calvert Investments have released a guide to help companies address human trafficking risks in supply chains just weeks ahead of the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act, or SB 657, becoming law. The report titled: “Effective Supply Chain Accountability: Investor Guidance on Implementation of The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and Beyond” can be downloaded here

The Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings (GISR), the not-for-profit project looking to establish a single, standardized sustainability rating framework for companies, in the early stages of assembling the Technical Review Committee (TRC), a multi-stakeholder group that will oversee development of a beta version of the standard over the next 12 months. The GISR standard will encompass both cross-sectoral and sector-specific key performance indicators ( KPIs). It said Version 1.0 would be released in approximately 18 months and has called for input: E-mail

The World Bank’s IFC private finance arm has announced the launch and pricing of a $3bn five-year global bond issue as part of its regular fundraising. It follows a $2bn, five-year transaction in April and marks the second time that IFC has issued two global bonds in one calendar year.

Excessive trading is adding more than £3bn a year of hidden charges for UK schemes, according to research by SCM Private, a wealth management firm. SCM found that UK pension funds had an average portfolio turnover of 128% each year – adding 0.7% in undisclosed costs. The cumulative effect of this over 20 years, it said, would be to shrink retirement pots by up to 15%.