AG takes its sustainable investing policy up a notch - AG Employee Benefits

Published on 28/11/2022


AG's unwavering commitment to sustainable investing

​It's not exactly a secret: the investments we make today will shape the world of tomorrow. This is what prompted the European Union to introduce the SFDR - Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation - as part of its Sustainable Action Plan, with the understanding that a more equitable society is rooted in sustainable investment choices. Bernadette Migisha, Head of SRI at AG, explains what sustainable and responsible investing means at AG and the impact of this new EU regulation.​​​

Hello, Bernadette. First of all, what is AG's policy on sustainable and responsible investing?

While there has been tremendous growth in the interest in sustainable investing, our attentiveness to sustainability and our approach to sustainable and responsible investing is nothing new at AG. The first sustainable investment mandates were launched in 2007.

We have also regularly expanded our policy on sustainable and responsible investing for all our assets under management. We now apply Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors to all investment decisions, both in Branch 21 and Branch 23. In practical terms, this means that regardless of the type of funds offered by AG Employee Benefits, ESG criteria and sustainability risks are systematically part of our decision-making and management process. The companies included in our funds also place a high priority on sustainability. This dimension is a common thread in the management of their activities and in their decision-making.

"Our attentiveness to sustainability and our approach to sustainable and responsible investing is nothing new at AG."


What is the objective of the EU's SFDR regulation?

Following in the footsteps of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreements - to name but a few - the EU has drawn up an action plan that includes a set of initiatives on sustainable finance. This is how the SFDR regulation came to be.

The SFDR is intended to increase transparency for customers on the sustainability of financial products. Ultimately, the idea is to support the EU's policy agenda by encouraging investment in sustainable economic activities. This transparency requirement, which came into effect in March 2021, will be extended until the end of 2022 in the interest of providing investors with greater clarity.

"Ultimately, the idea is to support the EU 's policy agenda by encouraging investment in sustainable economic activities."

On the subject of greater transparency for customers, what are the key elements that will help them select investment opportunities?

The SFDR regulation is quite complex, but the content of the Articles can be summed up as follows:

  • An Article 9 product is defined as an investment in economic activities that directly contribute to an environmental or social objective.
  • An Article 8 product promotes environmental and/or social characteristics. For example, environmentally harmful sectors such as thermal coal and unconventional energy sources - fossil fuels that are difficult to exploit - are excluded.
  • Article 6, the third and final category, is for products that are not covered by Articles 8 and 9, notably products that do not promote sustainable characteristics.

Depending on the sustainability profile of each investment fund, customers will have access to pre-contract documents and standardised reports containing sustainability-related information.

At AG, we feel that the sustainable and responsible approach incorporated in the investment policy for all of our products fulfils the requirements of Article 8, which had led us to classify the vast majority of our funds in this category. With the introduction of the SFDR, we simply applied the EU framework to what we were already doing. 


About Bernadette Migisha

Bernadette Migisha started her career in 1994 at Fortis Investment Management. In 2007, Bernadette took over as the head of AG's Chief Investment Office, where she focused on launching products that prioritise and advance women's leadership, the climate and the energy transition. In 2017, she moved into a new role as the Head of SRI, where she develops AG's approach to sustainable and responsible investing.