As a collective occupational benefits institution, Asga Pensionskasse Genossenschaft works in the interests of member firms and insureds to increase its capital, which is used in full to finance insureds’ benefits. Asga’s Capital Investments sector is responsible for managing the investment portfolio and generating the necessary investment returns.
The sector’s particular remit is to meet defined investment and return targets, while taking into account the available risk budget. Other principles relate to security, an appropriate return and sufficient liquidity. Asga’s long-term financial equilibrium is assured so that we, as trustees of our insureds, can satisfy their financial claims at all times.
As a pension fund, we think in generations. For us, the sustainability of our investments is not just part of our day-to-day work, but also a fundamental pillar of our long-term success – and thus of secure pensions for our insureds. We manage the retirement savings capital of over 130 000 active insureds.
In our capacity as a co-operative, we are aware of our responsibility as an investor with a high investment volume. This is why we systematically factor ESG criteria into our capital investments. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance – in other words, issues that are conditional on the application of sustainability in these three areas. The sustainability strategy is implemented in stages, successively including all relevant investment categories.
Summary of key points
On 1 April 2020, Asga introduced a policy of sustainable capital investment. Our sustainability policy is founded on three pillars: normative screening, the exercise of voting rights & dialogue, as well as ESG integration. We engage in discussion with companies that systematically and seriously violate the principles of the UN Global Compact and we reserve the right to exclude them. As an active shareholder, we exercise our voting rights and maintain a dialogue with the companies we invest in. We define the ESG criteria to be taken into account and communicate these to our asset managers. A broad-based climate strategy is planned, rounding out our sustainability policy. We are a member of the Swiss Association for Responsible Investments (SVVK – ASIR).
We define goals
Our sustainability guidelines serve our insureds in that we reduce investment and reputational risks and promote the sustainable management of the companies invested in. The application of ESG criteria should lead to an improvement in the risk/return ratio over the long term. We are guided by globally accepted standards and not by subjective or perceived values. We follow Swiss law (e.g. legislation governing the export of war material) and international conventions ratified by Switzerland (such as the Paris Convention) and the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact. We also ensure that our external asset managers sign the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.
Together we can achieve more
We are a responsible shareholder: We exercise our voting rights at all Swiss firms and around 400 international companies. By joining the Swiss Association for Responsible Investments (SVVK – ASIR) we receive support in the implementation of normative screening and dialogue with companies that systematically and seriously violate the principles of the UN Global Compact. Where no improvement is achieved, we reserve the right to exclude the respective company from the portfolio or underweight it. We also evaluate further memberships that help us progress in terms of this process and the work in connection with policy.
We communicate transparently
In introducing a binding sustainable capital investment policy we are committing to a promise: We aim to continually improve and to regularly review our efforts. We report openly and transparently in our Annual Report and on an ongoing basis on our website and other channels.
Exercising of voting rights
We are a responsible shareholder: We exercise our voting rights at all Swiss firms and around 400 international companies.
The principle of exercising voting rights is laid down in the Investment Regulations and was updated effective 1 January 2021.
The voting rights attached to Swiss company shares listed in Switzerland or abroad (held directly by Asga or through single-investor funds) are exercised. Voting rights are also exercised in around 300 of the largest companies abroad. We also exercise voting rights in cases where we are engaged in dialogue with companies through our SVVK – ASIR membership. Shareholder rights are asserted in the interests of insureds. This principle is considered satisfied if share and election votes are exercised in the long-term interests of the company, while factoring in sustainability issues.