Ethos Foundation, which specialises in socially responsible investing (SRI), and BCV, Switzerland’s fifth-largest universal bank, have entered into a long-term strategic partnership through which they will offer sustainable investment products. In the first phase, six Ethos funds will be managed by BCV’s Asset Management department.
In this partnership, Ethos will analyse the companies in the funds based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, applying a methodology and skills developed over more than 20 years. In addition, Ethos will exercise voting rights at shareholders’ meetings in accordance with its own guidelines and engage in dialogue with companies in its funds in order to encourage them to improve their ESG practices.
BCV’s Asset Management teams will contribute their expertise in financial analysis and portfolio management to the partnership. The Bank will also actively promote Ethos funds by listing them in its product offering and including them in the asset management mandates and portfolios which it manages for its clients. At the same time, some BCV products – mainly bond funds – will incorporate Ethos’ ESG analyses and criteria.
Ethos CEO Vincent Kaufmann said, “With BCV, we can count on a partner with deep roots in Switzerland, one that’s close to its clients and, above all, one that recognises the importance of ESG investing. We have also found a partner that shares our desire to offer Ethos funds to as many institutional and retail investors as possible.”
“Ethos plays a leading role in SRI in Switzerland,” said Stefan Bichsel, the head of BCV’s Asset Management and Trading Division and member of the Executive Board. “For BCV, this partnership is another step towards incorporating ESG criteria into all our products and will strengthen our SRI strategy going forward.” BCV CEO Pascal Kiener added, “This partnership makes perfect sense for BCV, given both our mission and the corporate social responsibility strategy that we have been putting in place through the years.”
Ethos and BCV will work together closely in order to strengthen this partnership over the coming years and create a new center of competence in sustainable finance in Switzerland. In the first phase, six Ethos funds – three equity funds, two bond funds, and one asset allocation fund – will be directly managed by BCV Asset Management and run by Gérifonds, the BCV Group subsidiary in charge of fund administration. These changes must still be approved by the relevant authorities, and the exact timeline will be finalised accordingly.