Head of Platforms, Vontobel Platforms and Services
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Peter Camenzind, Head of Platforms & Services Banks Switzerland, and Severin Rupp, Head of Platforms & Services EAM Switzerland, talk about why Vontobel is a suitable partner for ESG investments and why now is a very good time for ESG investments.
Why is Vontobel a suitable partner for ESG investments?
Peter Camenzind: A partner or adviser can only be credible if they live out the values that they show people. And in fact, it should be in their blood—they should not just follow trends. Vontobel is a family-managed company that thinks in generations and not in quarters. Social commitment, acting responsibly, and long-term orientation characterize its corporate culture. This is the basis of Vontobel’s high credibility as a partner for ESG investments.
Severin Rupp: With its almost 100-year history, sustainability is very important to Vontobel. Multi-generational actions and thinking are very important to the family and hence to Vontobel as well. Responsibility for society and hence sustainable actions are in our blood as an investment firm.
What do our partners expect from Vontobel so they can optimally advise their clients in the area of ESG?
Peter Camenzind: Social responsibility for investments is developing into an inseparable partner of yield. There is a widespread view that investing using ESG criteria does not necessarily mean a lower than average yield. I would even go further. Investing sustainably is the best foundation for a long-term yield. What’s more, investors see the return on investment not only in a financial form, but also with the knowledge that their investments have contributed to a better world.
Severin Rupp: Neutrality, transparency, openness. Many banks have jumped on the ESG bandwagon, but Vontobel was a pioneer. Simply putting an ESG “stamp” on existing products from one day to the next is not in line with Vontobel’s philosophy. This type of transformation requires time, resources, and a great deal of mental work.
What are the most important questions about ESG that our partners should be able to answer for their clients?
Peter Camenzind: It is difficult to assess which companies truly act in a sustainable way compared to others in their sector. Particularly since a company’s perception of itself and the public perception often deviate sharply from each other. From a marketing perspective, almost every listed company publicly professes that it is sustainable and conforms to ESG. But, is that really true? Experts are needed here to analyze the sustainability reports and corporate information and to provide the correct context. Partners of Vontobel can rely on our ESG experts, who get a detailed sustainability picture and are able to make and justify their assessment in a well-founded way. The clients of our partners profit from this expertise.
Severin Rupp: Investing sustainably does not equate to a loss of yield per se! Investing sustainably focuses on long-term cycles and trends, which pays off.
Why is right now a favorable time to get involved in ESG?
Peter Camenzind: “Right now” is always the most favorable time to invest in a movement that has come to stay. As I said, we are not talking about a passing fad that will soon be gone. You can get involved in ESG tomorrow or the day after without hesitation – but “right now,” the conditions are definitely a bit more interesting…
Severin Rupp: It is never too late to act. All investors also bear responsibility for our future. Having a positive effect on it with our own investment behavior is a good thing.