Sustainable investments in Switzerland rebound strongly to hit new peak

Asset flows beat the market average.

Sustainable investments run by Swiss fund managers rebounded after the financial crisis to reach a new high of CHF34.1bn (€23bn) during 2009 – with investment inflows outstripping the market average – according to a report from Zurich-based consulting firm onValues. The rise in sustainable assets managed by fund managers at the end of last year represented a 63% increase over the figure at the end of December 2008. The figures comprise assets in investment funds, segregated mandates and structured products.
In a 12-page report surveying 19 asset managers, onValues said the net asset flow into sustainable funds was approximately 22.9%, during 2009 compared to 4.5% seen by the average Swiss fund provider over the same period. The report said the sustainability asset inflows were “particularly marked” for thematic equity funds and new funds in the real estate and emerging market equities.In a breakdown of Swiss sustainable assets, onValues said funds accounted for approximately 55% of the total, segregated mandates for 40% and structured products 5%. Institutions account for 45% of the sustainable assets market, with the balance invested by retail/private banking investors. However, the report said fund manager respondents believe institutional investors will drive the main growth in the sector in the next three years. OnValues said it set out to assess the market for specialist sustainable investment products and not the degree to which ESG factors are being used in mainstream investment portfolios. It said this means there are probably more total assets in Switzerland run via broader sustainability criteria. The survey was backed by Bank Sarasin, Bank Vontobel, Ethos, Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen, INrate, Kaiser Ritter Partner, SAM, Swisscanto, UBS and Zürcher Kantonalbank.