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Swiss Re shifts entire $130bn investment portfolio to ethical indices

Author: Oliver Ralph, Financial Times (UK) , Published on: 6 July 2017

Swiss Re's, one of Europe's biggest insurers...move comes amid renewed interest from the insurance industry in ethical investing. Last year, Axa said it would sell its tobacco investments, and this year others including Aviva and Scor have followed. Swiss Re says it is the first insurer to base its whole portfolio on ethical principles. Guido Fürer, the chief investment officer, says that in the future both internal and external managers of its money will be told to use MSCI’s environmental, governance and social indices, rather than more traditional benchmarks...Swiss Re's research shows that the total returns offered by the[se] ESG indices are very slightly lower than for more conventional benchmarks, but that they are less volatile...creat[ing] better risk-adjusted returns...Unlike Axa, Aviva and Scor, however, Swiss Re will not be divesting from any particular industry or company. “It is better to give companies time to adapt,” says Mr Fürer. “There is a social cost to putting a company outside the investment spectrum. There are people who work there and if a company can’t fund itself, it can’t employ so many people.” [refers to Aviva, AXA, SCOR, Swiss Re]

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Related companies: Aviva AXA SCOR Swiss Re