Robeco is merging RobecoSAM into its brand strategy, meaning the pioneering ESG boutique with its roots as Sustainable Asset Management (SAM), will no longer be a separate brand, but rather will be one of the Dutch asset manager’s “ingredient” brands.
As if to underline how final the latest move is, even the RobecoSAM Twitter account will shut down in a few weeks.
Robeco says the change will not impact business activities, which include portfolio management, sustainable investment, and marketing and communications, in Zurich where RobecoSAM is based. However, its operations will be under a new legal entity called Robeco Switzerland Ltd.
“Now is the right time to present this skillset under one united brand” – Christoph von Reiche
The RobecoSAM name will remain in place for the impact product range, consisting of sustainable thematic strategies, as well as equity and fixed income impact strategies. The suite of products, with approximately €6.7bn of assets under management, includes offerings such as the RobecoSAM Smart Energy Fund and the RobecoSAM Smart Materials Fund.
Furthermore, the name will continue to be used for the proprietary RobecoSAM Smart ESG Scores, RobecoSAM SDG Scores, RobecoSAM Country ESG Scores, RobecoSAM Gender Scores, and the RobecoSAM Environmental Footprint Tool Scores.
Robeco, itself majority owned by Japanese conglomerate ORIX, first bought the majority of SAM in 2006 and has used it to designate selected sustainable impact intelligence and research, as well as its impact funds.
Christoph von Reiche, Global Head of Distribution & Marketing at Robeco, said: “Robeco and RobecoSAM have become so interlinked that now is the right time to focus our efforts in SI [Sustainable Investing] even further and to present this skillset under one united brand. I strongly believe that this will improve market clarity and cement our position as a global leader in SI.”
SAM was founded by Reto Ringger in 1995. In 1997 it launched the world’s first investment fund devoted solely to sustainability, and in 1999 it teamed up with Dow Jones, to create the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; in 2019 this was sold to S&P Global.
RobecoSAM has seen multiple CEO departures over recent years; following the exit of co-CEOs Daniel Wild and Marius Dorfmeister in 2019, the position was replaced by an Executive Committee, which will remain intact following the integration, and headed by David Hrdina as Business Manager Switzerland.
Additionally, RI has reported on insiders pointing to continued cultural differences, a misalignment of strategies, and disagreements about the growing links between Robeco and RobecoSAM.