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Securities make up the largest share of Swiss Life’s total assets under management. Swiss Life takes a large number of measures into account in the investment process for securities: these include, among others, ESG thresholds, the systematic exclusion of non-compliant companies and the exercise of voting rights at shareholder meetings.
In the investment process for securities – such as shares and corporate and government bonds – Swiss Life uses, among other things, analyses by an independent international ESG research and valuation service provider. ESG information on over 14 000 share and bond issuers worldwide helps Swiss Life to swiftly identify and anticipate the risks relating to environmental and social issues as well as governance aspects. This also ensures early recognition of risks arising from ESG problems such as infringements of labour law, shortcomings in corporate governance and indications of corruption or environmental risks relating to climate change. From its own analyses, Swiss Life knows that the carbon intensity of the securities portfolio is very good compared to corresponding benchmarks. Swiss Life aims to maintain this position over the coming years.
Swiss Life sets ESG thresholds based on external ratings to steer clear of issuers with a poor ESG performance for new investments. Specifically, issuers that have a low ESG rating or are involved in serious ESG controversies are avoided. In its credit analyses of issuers of fixed-income investments, Swiss Life also takes climate indicators such as carbon intensity into account in addition to ESG ratings and controversy assessments. On this basis, it draws up detailed credit reports, which are analysed by the risk committees.
Unlike fixed-income investments, for which Swiss Life pursues an active investment approach, a passive approach is taken for equity investments. As a result, there is limited flexibility to exclude investments from the investment universe. In most of the equity investment strategies, however, ESG ratings or controversies are used as a factor to optimise the portfolio. In addition, a great deal of importance is attached to the exercise of shareholder voting rights in equity investments. Furthermore, exposure to portfolio companies was introduced as a pilot phase in the year under review.