We are committed to:
- A high level of transparency: within our team and in relation to our clients and suppliers.
- The adoption of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and collaboration on their implementation; by fostering good governance, integrity and accountability.
- Investing a proportion of our company’s capital into socially responsible investments – currently in microfinance in developing countries.
- Dedicating part of our annual profits as a company to helping people in particular need in different parts of the world – usually through donations through Swiss registered charities.
Since 2018 until today:
LifeMatters Foundation is a Cape Town based charity founded in 2002 providing literacy and numeracy support to grade 2 and 3 learners from underprivileged neighbourhoods to enable them to keep up with the academic curriculum. There is also a Life Skills Portfolio that provides counselling, mentoring, camps and Teenage Awareness programs to equip learners to thrive in the face of the challenges of their context and adolescence to become active citizens. www.lifemattersfoundation.org
Recently supported charities:
Reprieve is a charity set up by a group of UK lawyers to try to prevent major human rights abuses – very often challenging an unfair death penalty – around the world. www.reprieve.org.uk
The Roger Federer Foundation: www.rogerfedererfoundation.org/en/home/
Médecins sans Frontières: www.msf.org/en/country/switzerland
Sozialwerk Pfarrer Sieber – a charity helping the homeless in Zurich: www.swsieber.ch
ISGAM, SRI & ESG today
ESG factors are considered in our investment process
An ever increasing proportion of the funds we select take environmental, social and governance (known as ‘ESG’) factors into active consideration as part of the investment process. In addition your shareholder voting rights are now often used to foster best practice. In the management of the share portfolios ESG factors, including the diversity of boards and management, are an important part of the quantitative “scoring system” we use for stock selection.
Incorporating particular individual client preferences.
Certain clients request the exclusion of specific securities or industry sectors which do not fit with their personal value system. ISGAM has always accepted such requests and incorporates them into the relevant portfolio strategies for that client.
Proactive promotion of certain socially responsible investments.
For some years ISGAM has also proactively offered certain investments which it considers to be socially responsible. A number of clients have incorporated these into their portfolios. These include particular thematic investment funds (such as in clean water and preventing or mitigating climate change) and investments which are specifically intended to have a positive social impact (for example in micro finance, where money is lent to many small scale entrepreneurs in developing countries).
Investing in a pre-defined socially responsible strategy: for a section of a portfolio or for a whole portfolio.
For amounts starting from € 150,000, £150,000 or USD 150,000 ISGAM constructs a strategy including equities and fixed interest investments entirely in the socially responsible fields outlined above. This strategy can either constitute one of the building blocks (or “models”) upon which the portfolio is constructed or it can be applied to a whole portfolio, on the client’s specific instruction.
An introduction to the Evolution of Socially Responsible Investing
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Sustainable Investment, ESG and Ethical Investment Clarified
“Socially responsible investing” (SRI) describes any investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria alongside financial analysis when making investment decisions.
A sub-set of SRI, the main focus of “Impact investing” is on the positive impact of the investments chosen – an even more activist approach.
“Sustainable investment” is another term used for socially responsible investing
“ESG investing” is investing where environmental, social and governance factors are considered alongside financial factors in the investment decision making process.
“Ethical investing” refers to the practice of using one’s ethical principles as the primary filter for the selection of securities investing. Ethical investing depends on an investor’s views, and for that reason is subjective. So for some people “ethical” means excluding tobacco and guns, for others it means excluding alcohol and pornography.
An investor who owns shares in any company is entitled to attend the annual general meeting of the company, to ask questions of the directors and to vote at that meeting.
Managers of SRI and ESG funds use this power on behalf of their investors to have a positive impact on company policy by voting in a certain way and by actively engaging with management.