Responsible investing

As responsible investors we prioritize our fiduciary duty to clients. We see ESG integration as prudent risk management. 

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Responsible Investment Overview

At Sparinvest we believe that investing responsibly goes to the heart of our fiduciary duty to clients to generate strong long-term investment returns. When considering investments, in order to build an understanding of value and the sustainability of that value, our analysts and portfolio managers consider a wide range of risks and opportunities. Some are shorter term, with the potential for an immediate impact. Others are longer term, but no less significant to the intrinsic value of the investment. It is only natural that as part of this assessment, we consider ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues, many of which tend to impact over the longer term. We aim to incorporate these considerations throughout our investment processes, across our asset classes. This means looking at ESG-related risks and opportunities at the individual security level, and also considering the impact of broader themes which may impact on values across an entire sector, country, or portfolio.

Responsible investment does not end with an investment decision. It is crucial to continue monitoring investments in their treatment of risks and opportunities. We also seek to foster the long-term value of our investments and – in our corporate bond and equity funds - to improve corporate behaviour, by being active owners in communication with our holdings. We do this through voting and engagement. More details can be found in our Stewardship section

This integrated way of thinking means that various elements of our responsible investment approach are firmly embedded within our investment teams, implemented by analysts and fund managers as part of their daily work. We also use external service providers to augment our internal capabilities in areas such as detailed ESG research, exercise of voting rights, screening of our ethical fund range, and for some types of engagement. It is important to note that while we seek external input, voting decisions are made by our own portfolio managers, and we generally seek to have an active relationship with our service providers.
Certain investments are universally excluded across our entire range of funds. We also offer a range of funds labelled Ethical, which exclude other investments based on international norms and industry exposures. Implementation of these exclusionary screens is carried out in partnership with external ESG service providers. 

The development and implementation of responsible investment practices are driven by our Responsible Investment Committee, which includes representatives from Equity and Fixed Income investment teams, and is chaired by the Head of Responsible Investment. The RI Committee reports to both the Investment Committee and the Board of Directors.


Responsible Funds

Sparinvest invests its entire fund range responsibly. We see the integration of ESG issues in our investment process, along with stewardship programmes, involving both voting and engagement, as being part of our fiduciary duty. Of course, the potential for ESG integration and stewardship varies by asset class and by strategy. In our actively managed funds, we work to understand the ESG issues faced by a company, and assess the implications for corporate value and whether risks are adequately compensated. We consider how stewardship can be used to nurture corporate value and to encourage improvements in sustainability. More details can be found in our ebook.

Exclusions

Sparinvest has an active stewardship programme which aims to bring about change. 
However, all Sparinvest strategies exclude investments in:
  • Banned weapons (anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions, biological weapons, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty)
  • Securities prohibited by EU Sanction

In addition, we offer a range of Ethical funds which have additional exclusion criteria.

Ethical Funds

All Sparinvest funds are responsibly invested, meaning basic exclusions apply, ESG considerations are integrated and we pursue stewardship programmes. However, we also acknowledge that some clients may prefer a more rigorous exclusionary approach to ensure that their money is not invested in companies that are, for example, in breach of internationally accepted standards of behavior (e.g. UN Global Compact), or that operate in certain sectors. For such clients we offer an additional independent ethical screening of portfolios on the basis of pre-agreed Norms and sector-based exclusions. More details of the Ethical Investment Policy underpinning our range of ethical funds can be found here.

Ethical investment policy

Carbon

The Montreal Carbon Pledge is an initiative aimed at addressing climate change. Signing the Pledge commits an asset manager to measuring and disclosing the carbon footprint of some or all equity portfolios on an annual basis. The aim is that the Portfolio Manager will use this information either for engagement purposes or to set carbon reduction targets. Sparinvest signed the Montreal Carbon Pledge for the following funds:
  • Sparinvest – Ethical Global Value
  • Sparinvest – Ethical Emerging Markets Value

RI Community

Where we see meaningful opportunities aligned with our responsible investment aims, we participate in external organisations and initiatives. This enables us to observe industry-wide sustainability trends, helping us to keep our Responsible Investment Policy up to date. It also gives us representation in the shaping of responsible investment legislation and involvement in supra-company initiatives designed to promote ESG transparency more widely.

Client Reporting

We are committed to providing our investors with regular updates on key RI topics in our newsletter, RI Review. The first RI Review of each year gives an overview of the previous year’s voting and engagements.

Tailor-made Solutions

Sparinvest’s flexible approach means that it is possible for us to create tailor-made responsible investment solutions. For example, an ethical exclusion filter or a bias towards low carbon investments can be applied to any of our strategies under the terms of a mandate or SIF. In such circumstances, the client can decide the exact scope of the exclusions required.