Swiss wealth management industry takes stock of Sustainable Finance

The Swiss asset management banks have high ambitions to achieve the climate targets (Photo VAV-ASPB)


The first report has now been published on the progress made with the sustainable finance industry initiative in the wealth management sector, which was launched last year. Through their engagement against climate change, the banks taking part have achieved some initial success.

The Association of Swiss Asset and Wealth Management Banks (VAV) launched an industry initiative in September 2021 with a publication entitled ‘Sustainable Finance as an opportunity for Wealth Management Banks’. The aim is to support private and institutional investors with sustainable investing and help transform the economy into a more sustainable system. Switzerland’s wealth management banks joined forces to set priorities which they have been working towards, developing further and reviewing regularly ever since. The eight Swiss private banks from the Association of Swiss Private Banks (ASPB) are now coming on board the initiative. Together with 14 members of the VAV and LGT, the initiative is thus being supported by a total of 23 institutes representing assets under management of CHF 2 200 billion between them.

“We’re delighted to be part of this industry initiative,” says Grégoire Bordier, President of the ASPB. “It’s a logical and valuable complement to the initiatives organised by the Swiss Bankers Association and the State Secretariat for International Finance. It’s important for as many wealth management banks in Switzerland as possible to lead by example and do their bit to ensure that the Paris climate targets are met. Only by working together can we hope to make Switzerland a leading sustainable finance hub.”


50 per cent reduction by 2030 already

The first report on the initiative’s activities, which has just been published, analyses the progress made as at spring 2022 on implementation at the wealth management banks that have been a part of it since 2021. There has been significant progress on nearly all the priorities, specifically in advisory, training, signing up to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and disclosing information in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). By contrast, a little more time is still needed to implement the two priorities associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions as these have been made more stringent and fleshed out with more specific details. For instance, the target of a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the banks’ own activities and their treasury books has been brought forward and is now to be met by 2030 already.

“We’re satisfied with these results,” says Philipp Rickenbacher, Chairman of the VAV. “Our sustainable finance industry initiative is well on the way to doing what it promised. The report not only underlines the desire and commitment of all our members to pay serious attention to the issue of sustainability but also reveals some initial tangible successes. This both gives us motivation and reaffirms our belief that we wealth management banks will make our contribution towards meeting the climate targets.”


More information: Association of Swiss Asset and Wealth Management Banks / VAV - ABG