Hirschel and Kramer (H&K) Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2019

Assets and awareness of Responsible Investment continue to rise – yet Asset Managers still struggle to express their often-good intent through their brand

Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2019

  • 220 European asset managers analysed for their ability to embed responsible investment approaches in their brand
  • The flurry of public awareness around ESG does not yet translate into visible action within the asset management industry
  • 29 asset managers consciously link their drive towards greater societal value through their Purpose, yet only five manage to do so through an impactful Purpose statement
Recent years reveal an unmistakable trend towards responsible investing and growing awareness of the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment. Now in its second edition, the H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index (in short RIBI™) has once again analysed over two hundred European asset managers with a view to validating whether their good intent is also communicated through their brand. The index evaluates actual commitment against follow-through in brand architecture and offers even sharper insights.

Download the Free RIBI™, available in English, French and German

Download Free RIBI™ 2019

The 2019 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 2019 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.

NEW IN 2019

  • Enhanced methodology: more parameters looked at on both the commitment dimension and the brand architecture axis. More granularity and explanation on your ranking.
  • Trend and evolution: comparison of results of the 2018 and 2019 editions. Where is the industry heading and where is your respective position?
  • The voice of the asset owner: qualitative and quantitative insights from European asset owners and their views on Responsible Investment.
  • The option to use the Responsible Investment Brand Index Sign of Achievement on your marketing and brand collaterals
avant gardist star

Don’t miss out on the Responsible Investment Opportunity

– Leverage the RIBI 2019 to your advantage.

DOWNLOAD the 2019 Responsible Investment Brand Index or book your deep-dive session.
Download Free RIBI™ 2019

We congratulate the TOP 10 achievers in the 2019 RIBI™ Avant Gardist Category

  1. Axa Investment Managers
  2. Hermes Investment Management
  3. Candriam Investors Group
  4. Swedbank Asset Management
  5. Ostrum Asset Management
  6. Mirova
  7. Nordea Investment Management
  8. Degroof Petercam Asset Management
  9. Robeco
  10. Bank J. Safra Sarasin

High level of commitment – but this is not seen through the brand

Two thirds of the companies analysed, (146 out of 220) formally commit as responsible investors, most frequently by signing the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) promoted by the United Nations.. In doing so, these companies are committed to positive evolution and progress in this sphere. However, the vast majority of these companies (75%) are failing to translate this commitment into their brand.

“While  ESG assets under management are growing, public awareness is on the rise, media volume is burgeoning and regulatory demand increasing, the industry has made little progress in expressing its good ESG-intent through brand” says Jean-François Hirschel, Co-Author of the H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index and CEO of H-Ideas, a company specialised in strategy and positioning in the financial industry.

The flurry of public awareness around ESG does not yet translate into action for the asset management industry

RIBI diagram 2019

Linking asset management and greater societal value in a Purpose: only 29 out of 220 asset managers consciously reflect their intent within their brand

41% of the asset managers analysed (91) express a Purpose. This demonstrates that reflection is taking place, but the industry doesn’t yet fully deliver what the public is looking for. On a positive note, 29 managers (13%) have a Purpose connected to societal ambitions. Only five managers managed to craft and align a very well-expressed Purpose that clearly goes beyond monetary returns and addresses greater social good.

“So, while public and regulatory pressure and a clear exposure to media is on the rise, there is no apparent traction yet in how asset managers connect their Responsible Investment actions to their brand, and more importantly, to a greater social good – ie  their purpose,” explains Markus Kramer, Co-Founder of the H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index, partner at boutique brand consultancy Brand Affairs and author of the “The Guiding Purpose Strategy, A Navigational Code for Brand Growth.”

Only 17% are Avant-Gardists, both committing and projecting their efforts in their brand. These companies have been notified and awarded a special RIBI™ Avant-Gardist™ Logo as a demonstration of appreciation.

Asset Managers will have to find answers…

Putting this all together, the industry is making slower progress than  the level of media noise would indicate. Public pressure to use finance and investment as a lever to create greater societal good will continue to increase. A younger, technology-enabled consumer base is demanding increased responsibility within value chains and across industry sectors.

“The dynamics we observe make the connection between responsible investment and asset manager brands even more meaningful and thus of the utmost strategic importance for any player in the industry. Now in its second year, we find evidence-based confirmation that a methodology  such as the Responsible Investment Brand Index is more relevant and timelier than ever” outlines Kramer.

Don’t miss out on the Responsible Investment Opportunity – Leverage the RIBI 2019 to your advantage.

RIBI 2020

Extensive research results with insights on the evolution of the overall industry. Qualification of performance of all key players into RIBI segments. Available free of charge in English, French and German.


Extensive research results with detailed insights on the evolution of your company. A qualitative assessment of your evolution and and a direct comparison of your position. Point of view of the asset owners through quantitative survey and qualitative interviews.


INSIGHTS+ and Full RIBI rankings (all companies) and a specifically tailored report and assessment of your position. Structured Half-Day workshop with RIBI Experts Hirschel & Kramer with your Team. Consolidation of workshop and recommendation.

* invoiced on time of delivery

About the Index

The H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index (RIBITM) has been developed to find out 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 220 European asset managers listed in the Investment & Pensions Europe Journal Top 400 ranking as of December 31st, 2018.

Description of the methodology

The methodology is focused on hard factors such as whether or not a PRI agreement is in place, and soft factors such as evidence of responsible investment visible in a company’s outward facing communications. Key criteria evaluated include a company’s strap line (slogan) and the visible existence of a vision or purpose statement connected to greater social good. The Responsible Investment Brand Index is made up of two ratings, the Commitment-Rating and the Brand-Rating.

Commitment-Rating: evaluation is based on the following criteria:

  • Membership in collective organisations / signatory of collective initiatives (memberships to four such organisations are assessed. In the case of the PRI, date at which they were signed is also taken into consideration).
  • Responsibility section on the Web site (Y/N)
  • CSR visible on the Web site (Y/N)
  • Web site shows RI policy (Y/N)
  • Web site shows voting policy (Y/N)
  • Web site shows voting report (Y/N)
  • Web site shows engagement policy and report (Y/N)

Each of these criteria is given a rating from 0 to 5, and the average makes up the “Commitment” rating.

Brand-Rating: The second rating focuses on brand and evaluates the following factors:

  • Company has a strap line which connects with societal goals (Y/N)
  • Corporate introduction mentions Responsible Investment (Y/N)
  • Purpose statement:
    • Existence (Y/N)
    • Quality of expression of the Purpose statement (average or good)
    • Connection of Purpose with societal objectives (Y/N)
  • Value system:
    • Existence (Y/N)
    • Quality of the Value system (on a 0 to 5 scale)
    • Connection of the Value system with societal objectives (Y/N)

The average of these scores makes up the “Brand” rating.

Commitment-Rating and Brand-Rating are then compared to the average 2.5 rating.

Use of RIBI Sign of Achievement (if eligible)

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

avant gardist star

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.


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: jf@h-ideas.ch

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

Phone: +41 44 254 80 00
E-mail: markus.kramer@brandaffairs.ch


H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index


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.

© 2024 Hirschel and Kramer (H&K) Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2024, All rights reserved | Privacy Statement