Swiss boutique Unigestion signs up to UNPRI guidelines

Geneva-based boutique manager Unigestion has signed the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), a set of guidelines that can be adopted by institutions which wish to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their investment decision-making.

Unigestion said it is convinced of the value of considering ESG criteria in its investment processes and believes responsible investment practices can improve the risk management of clients’ portfolios.

By becoming a signatory of the UN PRI, the company will place greater importance on the role that ESG analysis plays in investment processes across its entire product range. It will also spend more time engaging with underlying fund managers about their ESG behaviour, encouraging them to make improvements where necessary.

Christian Dujardin, Head of Investment Solutions within Unigestion’s Private Equity investment line, will be responsible for driving Responsible Investment initiatives throughout the company.

“Unigestion and the UN PRI are a natural fit,” he said. “The UN PRI have rapidly come to represent the global benchmark when it comes to responsible investing, while Unigestion has upheld the highest standards of business ethics, respect and transparency since its foundation.”

CEO Fiona Frick stressed the benefits for clients. “There’s no question that analysing ESG factors thoroughly in our investment processes helps us identify potential risks earlier on, and that increases the robustness of our clients’ portfolios.”

Unigestion has some with £9bn of assets under management (AUM), 92% managed on behalf of 230 institutional investors and 8% for high net worth families. Half of the AUM are held within segregated mandates. The firm considers downside protection and return asymmetry the drivers of long-term performance, with such factors embedded in all investment strategies: Equities, Hedge Funds, Private Equity and Cross Asset Solutions.

Unigestion, which also has office in Zurich, London, New York, Paris, Singapore and Guernsey, was established more than 40 years ago. It is focused solely on asset management, with 72% of the firm’s equity is owned by senior management.

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