The primary objective of United Bankers’ (UB) investment activities is to achieve sustainably the highest possible return, at the customer’s preferred risk level, both in the long and in the short term. As part of the materialisation of this objective, we consider in our investment decisions how environmental and social responsibility, as well as good governance (ESG factors) actualise in our investment objects. We believe that taking the sustainability aspect into account also has a positive effect on the return on the investments.
The principles of sustainable investment are approved by UB’s Board of Directors. The drafting, updating and issuance of practical guidelines concerning the principles of sustainable investment is the responsibility of the United Bankers Sustainable Investment Steering Group. It consists of members from portfolio management, the compliance function, risk management, communications and sales. The company has appointed a director in charge of sustainable investment, leading the work of the steering group. The practical implementation of the principle lies with the company’s portfolio managers.
We signed the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) supported by the United Nations in 2012. We report on our investment activities in accordance with these principles. In addition, we are members of Finland's Sustainable Investment Forum (Finsif), promoting sustainable investment in Finland by offering a networking facility and a channel for gathering information.
We have integrated sustainability aspects as part of our investment operations. These aspects are taken into account in portfolio management both for mutual funds and in discretionary asset management, as well as in the other investment products we offer (excluding index-based products). We consider the integration of the sustainability aspect as part of our products and services to be an essential part of the overall risk management within our corporate group. Sustainability is taken into account in selecting the investment object prior to making the investment decision, whereafter the materialisation of sustainability is monitored and reported to the investors regularly.
We have excluded from our investment objects companies engaged in the manufacturing and sales of controversial weapons (land mines, cluster bombs, depleted uranium as well as biological and chemical weapons), as well as companies participating in the development and production of nuclear weapons programmes. We also do not invest in companies whose principal line of business is tobacco, weapons, black coal production, gambling or adult entertainment.
We aim to reduce the negative environmental effects of our investments as well as to increase the positive sustainability effects of our investments in the long term. In order to monitor these objectives, we will be devising an annual sustainability report of our investment activities as of the year 2020. Furthermore, we report regularly on the sustainability activities of our funds in the fund’s regular monthly and quarterly reviews.
As concerns our equity and fixed income funds, we report the carbon intensity figure and the corresponding benchmark index figure selected for same on a monthly basis. In relation to our real estate funds, we report the carbon footprint calculated for same, as well as information pertaining to the energy consumption of the funds’ real estate objects annually. For our forest investments, in turn, we report the carbon balance (carbon sink) and the carbon reservoir, also annually. In addition, to the extent possible, we endeavour to report for all our funds also positive sustainability effects, in accordance, inter alia, with the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations. We aspire to rank among the best operators in Finland in the sustainability reporting concerning our investments.
In asset management, we broker also third-party products. As concerns third parties, we require the inclusion of sustainability as part of investment activities. We monitor our co-operation partners’ compliance with sustainability principles on a regular basis. Some of the key factors being monitored include, for instance, the co-operation partners’ commitment to the PRI principles, as well as inclusion of sustainability as part of the selection process of investments.