ESG investing has become increasingly popular among both retail and institutional investors in recent years. Today, environmental, social and governance factors are among the main concerns for investors looking to make a positive impact.
Speaking at the Geneva Forum for Sustainable Investment in Geneva, Fiona Frick, CEO of Unigestion, told Citywire Switzerland about her views on the topic.
‘Our mission is to deliver long, stable returns. Investing in companies that do not deal with ESG matters appropriately can be a risky investment proposition as there is always the possibility of a financial, regulatory or reputational issue arising in the future.
‘I believe if you look at the long-term future the more profitable investments will be the ones investing in companies that make a positive impact on society.’
The main concern for our clients at the moment, however, is to be able to get stable returns, which has not been easy lately because of the bullish market conditions.’
Frick said constant evolution is important in the asset management industry.
‘It is like riding a bike; you have to move if you want to be stable.’
She believes asset managers need to be able to provide added value since the number of cheaper passive strategies is always increasing.
‘The best way of doing it is through innovation and research. Tools like robo-advisory, which are available to basically everyone today, are democratising finance and educating individual investors.
‘I think robo-advisers cannot work independently, because they tend to have a backwards view, so there is the need for a human adviser too to achieve better results.’
Frick believes regulations are much needed today as they could rebuild trust in asset managers – something that was lost after 2008.