Kai Hattwich, Lead Portfolio Manager at German-based Quirin Privatbank AG, believes investing responsibly will ultimately become the default approach.
About Quirin Privatbank
Quirin is a Berlin-based private bank and a German pioneer in fee-only advisory. Today, Quirin looks after more than 67,000 clients with total investments of over €5.5 billion.
Q: How does ESG fit within your traditional and robo-advice offering?
A: We offer both ESG and non-ESG options across our range. Today, we think ESG is a good match for our passive investment philosophy as the quality of ESG data and range of investment solutions are so much wider now than ten years ago. ESG makes sense for us as a house because we strive to avoid conflicts of interest and try to be on the same side as our clients. We’ve found that most clients think that investments should be about more than just creating returns.
“ESG is a good match for our passive investment philosophy as the quality of ESG data and range of investment solutions are so much wider now than ten years ago.”
Q: You launched your ESG discretionary portfolio management service a few years ago. Could you tell us about how and why it was conceived?
A: We had observed a change in the market, with more data available accompanied by a proliferation of new investment vehicles. We decided the conditions were ripe to bring an ESG discretionary portfolio management service to market, and it has proved a good match for investor needs. The service is perceived positively by our clients who value that this ESG offering is still aligned with our science-based approach - providing good diversification and focusing on proven factors such as size and value.
Q: What is your priority when integrating ESG into your platform?
A: We aim to integrate ESG in the best way we can. For us this means investing in a diverse range of companies using asset managers that care; that do voting and engagement. It is important that we don’t simply ignore everything we don’t like and exclude it from our portfolio while it still exists in the real world. We have an opportunity to push for better.
We want change to happen!
Q: What was important for you when choosing a provider for your ESG ETFs?
A: Given our preference to remain invested, a key consideration in choosing our providers lay in their approach to voting and engagement. Besides this, we were looking for product breadth and a commitment to improving ESG scores.
We found that Amundi ETF met our requirements at the provider level and offered us a wide range of ETFs that function well as a set of building blocks. It also meets our key criteria in terms of providing diversification and access to better ESG scores and CO2 emissions.
Q: Have you noticed any trends in your clients choosing to invest sustainably over the past few years?
A: The main trend we’ve observed is that clients – that is all clients, not just the younger investors - when we ask them, are telling us they would like to invest sustainably. It is no longer just something that the market has chosen to offer, but something that investors demand.
People just need to know that it is possible in a way that works with science-based investing and without having to take on unwanted additional volatility or risk.
“People just need to know that investing responsibly is possible in a way that works with science-based investing and without having to take on unwanted additional volatility or risk.”
Q: What does the future of ESG investing look like for you and your investors?
A: ESG is definitely becoming an essential offering for investors. On the one hand, this has been driven by regulation, but I think there has also been a real shift in how investment and sustainable investments are perceived by the broader public. In the future, investing responsibly will just become the default approach.
At Quirin, we are always watching for interesting ESG product developments – aiming to keep ahead of regulatory changes, trends in the space and ensuring we incorporate the taxonomy where we can.
Q: How can the industry be more impactful in ESG?
A: I would like to see more weight on voting and engagement with better measurement and monitoring. For me, I would like to see more transparency around shareholder engagement, and maybe the creation of indices in this regard so that investments do more for change
Thanks again Kai for joining us and for sharing your perspective on investing responsibly.
The views expressed in this interview are the views of the interviewee and do not represent the opinion of Amundi ETF.
EQ Investors is a sustainable discretionary fund manager with the ambition to change finance to be a force for good. Amundi ETF recently sat down for a conversation with its joint CEO, Sophie Kennedy.