Hirschel and Kramer (H&K) Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2020

Asset managers are on a journey requiring increased speed to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2020

  • 284 European asset managers analysed for their ability to embed responsible investment approaches in their brand
  • While the number of asset managers linking their core purpose to societal goals has nearly doubled in the last year, only a handful manage to genuinely convey their commitment to Responsible Investment through their brand.
  • Five companies have consistently made it to the Top-10 in each of the last three years.

There is no doubt that the asset management industry is undergoing dynamic shifts that are fundamentally reshaping the future of the industry as a whole. Now in its third edition, the Hirschel & Kramer Responsible Investment Brand Index (in short RIBI™) expands the total universe of analysed European asset managers to 284 and adds further depth to the evaluation methodology, making it an indispensable tool within a rapidly evolving industry.

RIBI™ remains the only instrument out there which evaluates the asset management industry on its ability to translate its commitment to sustainable development into each asset manager’s respective brand. The index evaluates actual commitment against follow-through in brand architecture and offers insights not available anywhere else.

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The 2020 RIBI delivers Insights to help shape your Responsible Investment strategy. Access unique qualitative insights beyond the usual figures.

By combining hard and soft factors, the 2020 Responsible Investment Brand Index reaches beyond figures by providing you with relevant insights into the ESG landscape.

  • Degree of commitment to responsible investment
  • Degree of sustainability embodied within brand identity
  • Value based consistency of communication
  • Articulation of a purpose contributing to greater societal good

The RIBI is an invaluable tool to identify potential gaps between your Responsible Investment strategy and your brand and market position.

KEY POINTS AND NEW IN 2020

  • Universe expansion based on Investment & Pensions Europe Top 500.
  • Enhanced evaluation methodology with improved Commitment rating based on the weighted average of seven top-level criteria as well as a more granular evaluation of the quality of the expression of Purpose and Value-System based on five equally-weighted criteria.
  • A region-by-region analysis of RIBI showing the comparative attitude towards Responsible Investment across countries and within each region.
  • A specific analysis of Boutique asset managers.
  • The option to use the Responsible Investment Brand Index Sign of Achievement on marketing and brand collaterals.

We congratulate the TOP 10 achievers in the 2020 RIBI™ Avant Gardist Category

  1. AXA Investment Managers
  2. Federated Hermes (International Business)Avant-Gardist-star
  3. Candriam
  4. DPAM
  5. Sycomore Asset Management
  6. Etica SGR
  7. Mirova
  8. BNP Paribas Asset Management France
  9. La Banque Postale Asset Management
  10. MFS Investment Management

While the number of asset managers linking their core purpose to societal goals has nearly doubled, only a handful manage to genuinely convey their commitment to Responsible Investment through their brand.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of asset managers fall into the Avant-Gardist category and thereby demonstrate above average ratings on both the Commitment and Brand dimensions. While the change to previous years is marginal (+2% vs 2019 and +4% vs 2018), it is a small but nevertheless positive sign. Even when adjusting for new entrants or when looking at like-for-like comparisons, the increase remains positive. Hence the more important story here is that this is wholly attributable to the industry evolving in the right direction overall.

The understanding of the critical role “Brand” plays in an increasingly complex and accelerated, inter-connected world is not yet present in most houses. A lot remains to be done on an individual asset manager level,” says Markus Kramer, Co-Founder of the Responsible Investment Brand Index.

A heightened public focus on environmental and societal currents continues to outpace the ability of asset managers to incorporate these shifts into their brands.

RIBI diagram 2020

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An increasing number of asset managers are aspiring to move into the Avant-Gardist category. While this category of Aspirants is on the up (6% vs 1% in 2019), not enough effort is being made in the other two categories.

The most important shifts are seen in the categories of Traditionalists and Laggards. Whereas the decrease of Traditionalists to 28% (vs. 50% in 2019) may appear positive at face value, it comes at the detriment of Laggards increasing to 47% (up from 32% in 2019). This shift is explained by the expansion of the total universe under consideration and quite a number (48) of new entrants with very low ratings in both the Commitment and Branding ratings.

RIBI 2020 vs 2019 and 2018

For the first time, the Responsible Investment Brand Index’s Co-Authors, Jean-Francois Hirschel and Markus Kramer have also looked at country by country benchmarks, highlighting nuances across borders. European data, a per-country view as well as a special lens on Boutiques is available in the RIBI 2020 report.

On the strong side are France and Benelux, with France showing consistent strong ratings on both the Commitment and Brand side. Benelux’s overall position is strong, especially with the best Commitment rating among all analysed countries/regions.

On the weak side, Germany and Southern Europe are well below the global average. Southern Europe is weak on the Commitment side and close to average on the Brand side. Germany is very weak on Brand and slightly below market average on Commitment – a particularly puzzling position given that this is one of the biggest markets in Europe (the 4th largest one in terms of assets under management in our sample).

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European-Market

Now, more than ever, Responsible Investment and Social Purpose represent better opportunities for investment managers.

The asset management industry is in an ideal position to answer positively to a societal demand for doing better. This is not about foregoing profit for the sake of doing good – instead, it is a call for more commitment towards clever and better answers to the problems the world faces at large. ESG and purpose-driven approaches to asset management can collectively make a tremendous contribution towards a better world for us all. The Responsible Investment Brand Index shows that while progress is being made in certain areas, the asset management industry is still on a journey that will require a significant increase in speed in order to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

Jean-François Hirschel, Co-Founder of the Responsible Investment Brand Index, adds: “Above all, the main challenge the financial industry needs to address is its reputation – the need to build trust with existing customers, to establish long-term mutually profitable relationships with them and also to attract new clients. Making the connection between the financial industry and its societal responsibility through a genuinely expressed brand is a powerful way to achieve this.”

Don’t miss out on the Responsible Investment Opportunity – Leverage the RIBI 2020 to your advantage.

For asset managers:

RIBI 2020

Extensive research results with insights on the evolution of the overall industry. Detailed dissection of the performance of all key players in the RIBI segments. New this year: includes a competitive overview with the rankings of the Top-10 on a per-country basis for major European countries.                                                                                                                                                 

Free

INSIGHTS +

Extensive research results with detailed insights on the evolution of your company. A qualitative assessment of your evolution and a direct comparison of your position vs peers on each of the 15 analysed criteria (Commitment + Branding). A detailed rating of the quality of your Purpose and Values as well as recommendations for action.

€5.000

DEEP DIVE

Receive a tailored INSIGHTS+ report as well as a dedicated workshop moderated by RIBI’s two authors. This includes an indepth preparation call in order to customise the workshop to your needs and is followed-up by concrete recommendations that you can use for your Responsible Investment and Brand strategy.                                                                                       

€15.000

For asset owners, fund selectors and investment consultants:

RIBI 2020

Extensive research results with insights on the evolution of the overall industry. Detailed dissection of the performance of all key players in the RIBI segments. New this year: includes a competitive overview with the rankings of the Top-10 on a per-country basis for major European countries.

Free

INSIGHTS +, Single manager

Extensive research results with detailed insights on the evolution of an asset manager of your choice. A direct comparison of their position vs peers on each of the 15 analysed criteria (Commitment + Branding). A detailed analysis and interpretation of what it means for you.

€5.000

INSIGHTS +, Multiple managers

Receive INSIGHTS+ reports for several managers, for example, all those who manage for you, or all those ones in a specific country / region. Comparative analysis between each of the managers in the selected sample is provided and analysed for you.

Depending on number of managers – Please contact us.

About the Index

The H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index (RIBI™) has been developed to identify which asset management companies act as responsible investors and commit to sustainable development to the extent that they put it at the very heart of who they are: ie in their brand. The index focuses on asset managers active in Europe. It aggregates the analysis of all 284 European asset managers listed in the Investment & Pensions Europe Journal Top 500 ranking as of December 31st, 2019.

Methodology Overview

The H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index is made up of two ratings: the Commitment rating which focuses on hard factors (eg level and quality of Listed Equity voting), and the Brand rating which focuses on soft factors (eg the existence of a Purpose statement and the quality of its expression). Each of these two ratings ranges from 0 (poor) to 5 (excellent).

The consistency of what an investment manager commits to in terms of Responsible Investment and how it projects this in its brand is measured via the four RIBI categories:

  • Avant-Gardist: Above average on Commitment rating and Brand rating
  • Traditionalist: Above average on Commitment rating and below average on Brand rating
  • Aspirant: Above average on Brand rating and below average on Commitment rating
  • Laggard: Below average on both ratings

Data required to calculate these ratings is sourced from publicly available information.

Commitment rating methodology

The Commitment rating is based on seven top-level criteria:

  • Strategy and governance of Responsible Investment.
  • Involvement of the asset manager in collaborative Responsible Investment initiatives.
  • Staff commitment: the number of staff dedicated to Responsible Investment, out of total staff.
  • Listed Equity Engagement: level and quality of engagement with companies.
  • Listed Equity Voting: level and quality of voting.
  • Fixed Income Engagement: level and quality of engagement with issuers.
  • Senior involvement: seniority of the staff involved in the quality control of Responsible Investment reporting.

The information required to evaluate each of these criteria is sourced from the Principles of Responsible Investment Transparency Reports.

Branding rating methodology

The Branding rating is based on eight criteria:

  • Whether or not the asset manager express a Purpose.
  • Whether or not this Purpose connects with societal goals.
  • Evaluation of the quality of the expression of the Purpose based on five criteria.
  • Whether or not the asset manager has a Values system.
  • Whether or not this Values system connects with societal goals.
  • Evaluation of the quality of the expression of the Values system based on five criteria.
  • Whether or not the asset manager has a strap line which connects with societal ambitions.
  • Whether or not Responsible Investment is mentioned as an objective in the asset manager’s corporate description.

Use of RIBI Sign of Achievement (if eligible)

Avant-Gardist-star

Being placed in the top category and rated as an “Avant Gardist” allows eligible companies to use the RIBI™ Sign of Achievement in their communication materials. Using the RIBI™ Avant Gardist™ Sign of Achievement is free of charge and may be integrated in all your communication materials.

About the Authors

Jean-François Hirschel is the founder and CEO of H-IDEAS, a company which aims at re-establishing trust in the financial world. His professional expertise lies in strategically positioning financial services companies at brand and product level. Hirschel has held senior leadership positions at Société Générale and Unigestion. He holds a MSc from EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland, and has profound knowledge and experience in Institutional, Private and Retail Banking & Asset Management.

Markus Kramer is a partner at Brand Affairs, a specialist consultancy with expertise in strategic positioning and brand building. He holds an MBA from the University of Oxford and is a visiting Senior Fellow in Strategic Brand Management at Cass Business School London. The portfolio of brands he works with include companies such as Aston Martin, Harley-Davidson and many more. Kramer is author of the book The Guiding Purpose Strategy, A Navigational Code for Brand Growth.

Contacts

Jean-François Hirschel
CEO and Founder
H-Ideas S.A.
Rue de la Cité, 1
1204 Geneva, Switzerland

Phone: +41 22 561 84 12
E-mail: [email protected]

Markus Kramer
Managing Partner
Brand Affairs AG
Mühlebachstrasse 8
8008 Zurich, Switzerland

Phone: +41 44 254 80 00
E-mail: [email protected]

Media contact

Brand Affairs AG
Mühlebachstrasse 8
8008 Zurich, Switzerland

Phone: +41 44 254 80 00
E-Mail: [email protected]

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Disclaimer

The authors accept no liability for the content of the data presented in this document, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. Any views or opinions presented in this analysis are solely those of the authors.

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