Asset Management Association Switzerland (AMAS) and Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) publish Recommendations on Minimum Requirements and Transparency for Sustainable Investment Products

Investments in sustainable financial products are continuing to grow, but there can be discrepancies between clients’ expectations and the actual features of a product in relation to sustainability goals. The Asset Management Association Switzerland AMASand Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) are committed to ensuring the integrity of sustainable investment products and have therefore drafted recommendations for minimum requirements to help the asset management industry build investors’ trust in the Swiss financial center.

How to avoid greenwashing? “The Recommendations on Minimum Requirements and Transparency for Sustainable Investment Approaches and Products”, drafted jointly by SSF and AMAS, follow on from the Key Messages and Recommendations for Sustainable Asset Management published in 2020 and represent a further effort to reconcile the interests and goals of asset managers, other financial service providers, and end investors in the context of sustainable investment products on the Swiss market.

On 17 November, the Federal Council reiterated its intention to ensure that the Swiss financial center is a leading global hub for sustainable finance. To this end, it will continue to follow an approach based on subsidiarity.

AMAS and SSF welcome this, and the two organizations’ recommendations have laid a foundation for creating transparency over the sustainability of financial investments.

Published during Building Bridges Week, the recommendations are focused on sustainable products developed by the fund and asset management industry and sold to investors by financial service providers. They have three main aims:

  • to define the various sustainable investment approaches more precisely and set minimum requirements for implementing each of them;
  • to set minimum requirements for informing investors about the various investment approaches and instruments;
  • and to explain which sustainable investment approaches are best suited to meeting investors’ different objectives.
Matrix illustrating the suitability of different sustainability approaches
for the sustainable development objectives of the various investors

By matching their products with investors’ sustainability goals with their products, asset managers can ensure that all investors receive a product that matches their needs.

« In drafting minimum requirements for sustainable investment approaches and client communication on this subject, the two associations have provided an important instrument to create more clarity with regard to the goals of sustainable investment and align these more effectively with clients’ needs. »

Sabine Döbeli, SSF CEO

« The recommendations were drawn up by a group of experts from the asset management industry, including representatives from Swiss banks and insurers, and are broadly based. They can therefore play a vital part in preventing so-called greenwashing. »

Adrian Schatzmann, AMAS CEO

The recommendations are also designed to help at the point sale and ensure that financial advisors have access to all relevant information in order to advise investors proactively and transparently on how to meet their sustainability needs.

The regulatory environment for sustainable finance in Switzerland and internationally is evolving at a fast pace. T hese recommendations are intended to complement existing and future national and international regulations. Both SSF and AMAS see them as a first step that can serve as a basis for periodic reviews to take account of the latest developments.

Source: AMAS, SSF