Hirschel and Kramer (H&K) Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2023

Now is the time for asset managers to build their reputation as positive agents of change.

Responsible Investment Brand Index™ 2023

  • RIBI™ 2023 evaluates close to 600 asset managers globally on their ability to translate commitment to responsible development into their brand.

  • Both key RIBI ratings (Commitment and Brand) demonstrate good progress towards embedding responsible investment principles more broadly.

  • For the first time, just over half of all asset managers express a raison d’être (‘Purpose’), but still only less than a quarter link it to societal good.

Now in its fifth edition, the Responsible Investment Brand Index (RIBI™) highlights the ability of close to 600 asset managers globally to translate their efforts towards responsible investment into their core brand. The index is an indispensable tool and source of information within the asset management industry, offering insights not available anywhere else.

The 2023 report shines a light on an apparent conundrum: while the world is still in postpandemic recovery mode and one geopolitical crisis chases the next, RIBI shows strength, cohesion and positive progress across the asset management industry when it comes to further embedding the principles of sustainable development in brands. With uncertainty here to stay, now more than ever asset managers have an opportunity to improve their reputation as active players steering the flows of capital to generate investment returns, while contributing to a better world at large.

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The 2023 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 2023 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 FOR 2023

  • Universe of 600+ asset managers globally based on Investment & Pensions Europe Top 500.
  • A global perspective with region-by-region analysis of RIBI showing the comparative attitude towards Responsible Investment across regions and within each region.
  • A special focus on boutique asset managers

We congratulate the TOP 10 achievers in the 2023 RIBI™ Avant Gardist Category

  1. Candriam
  2. DPAM
  3. AXA Investment Managers
  4. Mirova
  5. Impax Asset Management
  6. Ecofi Investissements
  7. Schroders Investment Management
  8. Amundi
  9. Robeco
  10. CPR Asset Management
RIBI2023

2022 was marked by numerous challenges for investors, as equities and bonds experienced synchronised negative performance, creating one of the worst downturns in the past two decades. Yet the asset management industry keeps the responsible investment flame firmly alive.

We observe a positive evolution on both key RIBI dimensions. Whereas the Commitment rating increased from 1.84 to 2.12, the Brand Rating increased to 1.90 from a low base of 1.59. Both ratings work on a five points scale, with five representing the best score - please refer to our evaluation methodology for more details.

“Purpose plays an increasingly important role in a complex and accelerated, interconnected world. It provides an anchor of stability in times of uncertainty and acts not just as a unifying force for good, aligning belief and value systems within organisations, but consistency drives growth from within – Purpose and profit can co-exist,” says Markus Kramer, Co-founder of the Responsible Investment Brand Index.

Aacknowledging progress and identifying opportunities for further action.

category-ranking

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The progress is encouraging, but the divide across regions remains an issue: on the one hand, the asset management industry is at the helm of leveraging global streams of capital and economic shifts to its advantage.

Albeit positive, the emerging picture remains more fragmented. While Europe remains firmly in the lead on both dimensions, North America continues to drift further away. Given the USA remains the largest region in terms of both players and total AUM, the lowest Commitment rating (1.66) of any region is a reason for concern.

There is hardly an industry better placed to capitalise on the trends of continued digitalisation, global connectivity and the resulting scale and efficiency effects. On the other hand, following a sustainable approach to responsible investment as expressed through a company’s commitment and brand continues to run at different speeds in different regions.
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region-ranking

European asset managers are leading the way.

European asset managers continue to lead the way, with average Commitment ratings and Brand ratings well above the global average. This was already the case in our last edition, and it is even more so now with the magnitude of this position being even greater. Within Europe, the continent takes a stronger position than the UK, albeit that the UK is starting to close the gap – notably on the Brand dimension (with the strongest increase across all regions, moving from 1.72 to 2.11).

Asia Pacific and North America remain below the global average, on both Commitment and Brand, although Asia Pacific has now outpaced North America with significant improvements on both the Brand and Commitment ratings, up to the point that Asia Pacific is now getting close to the global average.

The European asset management industry is on a steady path of improvement, with the Avant- Gardists now representing 28% – more than a quarter of the players (vs. 24% last year).
european-evolution

Seizing the moment: why now is the time for asset managers to build their reputation as agents of positive change.

Despite ongoing global challenges and some questioning around ESG investing, we see many encouraging signs that reflect a growing awareness of the impact of money on society and the environment. Investors, regulators, and society as a whole are embracing a more holistic approach to investing, which bodes well for creating a brighter future for us all.

Asset managers can leverage these positive trends in several ways. First, by fostering cultures that prioritise purpose and values, they can attract and retain top talent, drive innovation, and develop solutions that benefit their investors, the planet, and society at large. Second, by highlighting their positive actions and impact through their brand and communications, they can inspire others to follow suit and demonstrate their commitment to build a better world.

Jean-François Hirschel, co-founder of the Responsible Investment Brand Index adds: “The main challenge the financial industry needs to address remains its reputation – the necessity to establish long-term, trusted and mutually profitable relationships with multiple stakeholders. With times staying uncertain yet RIBI demonstrating progress within the industry, there has perhaps never been a better time for asset managers to focus on the genuine identity they convey through their brand. To strengthen their reputation, to differentiate in a very competitive industry and to shape long-term relations based on trust with their clients and those who advise them.”

LEVERAGE THE RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT INDEX TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

For asset managers:

RIBI 2023

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. Global perspectives, including a competitive overview with the rankings of the Top-10 on a per-country basis within global regions and countries.

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RIBI 2023 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. This includes tailored preparation, and report as well as a debriefing call. Delivery time is 10 working days (once published, issued on a first come first served basis).

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RIBI 2023 DEEP DIVE

You get all tailored services from the INSIGHTS+ report as well as an analysis of your company compared to specific peer universes defined with you: by country and/or by size and/or by type of organisation, aligned with the strategy of your firm. This is presented in a dedicated workshop with your team (virtual or on-site), moderated by the RIBI’s two authors. This includes an in-depth preparation briefing call to customise the workshop to your needs, as well as a followed-up with concrete recommendations that you can use for your Responsible Investment and Brand strategy. Timings are on a first come first served basis.

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We provide tailor-made services. If you are interested in being assessed on the RIBI methodology but are not part of the IPE Top 500 ranking, please contact us.

For asset owners, fund selectors and investment consultants:

RIBI 2023

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.

Free immediate download.

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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 criteria analysed (Commitment + Branding). A detailed analysis and interpretation of what it means for you.

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INSIGHTS +, Multiple manager

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

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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 RIBI™ Sign of Achievement in their communication materials. Using the RIBI™ Avant Gardist™ Sign of Achievement is subject to an annual licencing fee of EUR 1.000. Please contact us.

RIBI2023

About the Index

The H&K Responsible Investment Brand Index (RIBI™) identifies 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: i.e. in their brand. The index aggregates the analysis of all asset managers globally listed in the Investment & Pensions Europe Journal Top 500 ranking as of December 31st, 2021.

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.

Additional Notes for Category Lookup

  • "Grace Period" is shown for managers which are in the Principles for Responsible Investment grace period because they are recent signatory and do not have to submit a transparency report yet. This also applies to some managers who have changed the corporate scope signing the PRI.
  • "Suspended" is shown for managers currently in transformation

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 Bayes (formerly Cass) Business School London. The portfolio of brands he works with includes companies such as Aston Martin, Harley-Davidson as well as Banks, Asset Managers, Governments and NGOs. 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: 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

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RIBI 2023 report

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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