Austria’s Erste Asset Management (Erste AM) will integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in the majority of its mutual fund strategies, as part of a wider corporate sustainability move.
The chief executive of Erste AM, Heinz Bednar, explained the decision, which will be implemented from the end of February, was driven by the better long-term performance of ESG funds.
Bednar said that “we know that, by taking into account sustainable criteria, we can provide our clients with a better risk-adjusted performance in the long run”, adding that this will not impact the asset class of the funds.
“There are different ways ESG criteria will be considered,” Erste AM noted, which will also improve the quality of the funds.
The asset manager launched its first sustainable mutual fund in 2001 and currently manages a total of 15, alongside numerous special funds, with €6.6bn in assets under management, it said.
“It is important for us to not engage in greenwashing and instead inform in a transparent manner and anticipate important developments, such as the EU action plan on sustainable finance,” Bednar commented.
“We want to remain the main driver in the Austrian market for the further development of sustainable investments, hence this move that acts as a starting point,” Erste AM’s spokesperson told Expert Investor.
Erste AM is the asset manager of Erste Group Bank, a listed financial service provider, and manages total assets of about €64.19bn.