“To me, sustainability means acting in such a way today that makes life still worth living on our planet tomorrow. As an insurer and a large company, but also as employees, we can have a large impact in this regard. From small, everyday impacts such as the content of our plates in the canteen to large issues beyond our own noses in our asset management investments.”Christopher Hilger, Customer Satisfaction
The asset management of Baloise is responsible for the investments of the Baloise Group insurance assets as well as the investment of customer assets such as pension funds.
Our investment strategy is based on a long-term perspective, which is the nature of the business. Due to the long-term obligations arising from life insurance contracts or occupational pension contracts, short-term profit maximisation is not the main focus.
The ultimate goal of our investment strategy is to obtain a result which is as high and sustainable as possible. Within this goal, we integrate the principles of responsible investment into our investment process.
We understand responsible investment as the inclusion of the environmental, social responsibility and governance factors in investment decisions. By integrating these ESG criteria in our investment decision, we increase the existing sustainability efforts of the Baloise Group. In order to visibly strengthen our commitment to our customers, shareholders and employees, Baloise signed the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2018.
Since early 2019, Baloise Asset Management has been investing new funds for all insurance assets and thus for the collective foundation on the basis of the newly defined responsible investment policy. Since we are in the early stages of implementing responsible investment (RI) policies, the scope of our responsible investment policy relates to insurance assets invested in shares and bonds, including loans.
Baloise asset management also includes real estate. Baloise is one of the largest real estate owners in Switzerland, focusing mainly on existing properties. When it comes to the management of our real estate investments, investment decisions are based on profitability and sustainability. In new construction projects, attention is paid to energy-efficient construction and operating systems, as well as the use of environmentally friendly construction materials. In this case, we look at the life cycle assessment over the entire life cycle of a property.
Due to the increased focus on RI and the associated integration of ESG criteria into our investment decision-making process, as well as the necessary monitoring of our RI policy, we have adjusted our governance structure and set up an RI committee (RIC). The RIC is responsible for developing the RI strategy and monitoring the investment policy. The RIC meets four times a year and consists of representatives from the following departments: Asset Strategy & Investment Controlling, Portfolio Management, Corporate Development & Compliance, and Public Affairs & Sustainability.
Environment, Social & Governance
Within the scope of our ESG guideline, investments in securities which have an ESG rating lower than B are excluded from the investment universe. In addition, no investments are made in companies that generate more than 30 per cent of their revenue from coal.
If passive infringements occur, for example due to rating downgrades, these are assessed by the RIC once a quarter. Measures are derived on this basis.
How we ensure ESG in practice
ESG issues require collective measures. As a result, Baloise asset management signed the PRI in 2018.
Regularly reviewing completed investments ensures that all our investment mandates for the various insurance units comply with the outlined investment policy
We exercise our statutory voting rights for Swiss stocks by following the principles of good and ethical corporate governance
Transparent and proactive reporting on our activities
Distribution of the ESG ratings (MSCI) of our investments based on available ESG ratings (data basis as of 31.12.2018).
Exclusion and transparency with regard to climate effects
We understand that certain investments are not compatible with a responsible investment policy and therefore require special assessment. As a result, Baloise Asset Management has been using exclusion criteria for years. In particular, we follow the recommendations of the Swiss association for responsible investments (SVVK - ASIR) and have fully adopted the published exclusion list. This currently relates to companies from the defence sector operating in the field of cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines or nuclear weapons
In addition, we create a CO2 footprint report every year which shows our portfolio in comparison to the benchmark. It shows comparisons between the effective and the comparative portfolios for Swiss equities, European equities and our bond portfolio.
 Swiss equities: Swiss Market Index (SMI); EUR equities: Euro Stoxx 50; bonds: Barclays Global Aggregate Bond.