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 various independent international ESG research and valuation service providers. 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. Swiss Life is thus better than the corresponding benchmarks in terms of the CO₂ intensity of its securities portfolio. Swiss Life aims to maintain this position over the coming years.
Swiss Life sets ESG thresholds on the basis of external ratings in order to avoid issuers with a poor ESG performance when making new investments. In particular, it avoids issuers that have a low ESG rating or are involved in serious ESG controversies. 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, detailed credit reports are formulated which are then 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. Swiss Life also attaches great importance to exercising shareholder voting rights in its equity investments: during the year under review, it further expanded its engagement with portfolio companies in the context of corporate dialogues.
The Stewardship Report is available.