Stockholm (NordSIP) – On Friday, February 8, Sweden’s first AP fund (AP1) was awarded the best ESG programme award at the Institutional Investors Europe (IIE) Peer-to-Peer Award, in Rome. AP1 was represented by Majdi Chammas, Head of External Management and Tina Rönnholm (pictured left), Portfolio Manager, External Management.
According to Rönnholm, AP1 takes a holistic view of ESG integration in the investment process and believes it is simply part of “sound investing” in equity and in debt markets, which can generate higher returns by increasing transparency beyond traditional disclosures.
The award followed a two-stage process. First, following a nomination by Swedish investors, asset managers and consultants based on its credentials in integrating ESG into its investment process, AP1 was voted as having the best ESG programme by investors in the Nordic region at the March 2018 Nordic Peer-to-Peer Awards.
“We continuously make small improvements and enhancements to our manager selection process, but more importantly we have been very active over the past year in exploring new opportunities in different asset classes. We have designed and seeded quite a few new strategies when no off-shelves alternatives were available,” according to AP1’s statement in support of its nomination.
Then, the final voting for the European awards took place in late 2018 and early 2019 between the regional winner awards. From a total participation of approximately 900 investors around 300 individuals voted for the Best ESG Programme category, with AP1 garnering the most votes.
AP1’s victory benefited from “the abilities of Majdi and Tina, AP1’s reputation as a leader in applying ESG criteria to investing, as well as the strong nomination statement,” according to Matthew Craig, European Content Director at the Institutional Investor Network (pictured right).
“The team aims to construct a portfolio of externally managed strategies that will deliver on a set return target. We furthermore consider it our duty to use our position and voice in the fund industry to both influence and innovate. We have established a manager selection philosophy and process which we apply consistently when we do searches and monitor existing strategies, and we take pride in offering detailed feedback to both existing and prospect asset managers, thereby impacting the whole industry,” according to Chammas and Rönnholm.
As of 30 June 2018, 33.9% of the total portfolio was externally managed, up from 32.5% on 31 December 2017. As of 30 June 2018, AP1 had assets worth SEK 282 billion, including SEK 248 billion in listed securities, SEK 31.5 billion in Swedish shares and participations, associated companies and subsidiaries, SEK 2.8 billion in Non-Swedish shares and participations, associated companies and subsidiaries, and another SEK 44.8 billion in “other unlisted shares and participations”.
Picture from Institutional Investors