Stockholm (NordSIP) – “The world needs ground-breaking sustainable finance solutions, and we need that now,” Sasja Beslik (pictured right) states. After having spent a decade driving sustainable finance at Nordea, Beslik left the Nordics for Switzerland. He joined 176-year old bank J. Safra Sarasin (JSS) to push forward the institution’s already well-ingrained sustainability plan. We caught up with him to find out what the most essential items are on his agenda.
“JSS has world-leading products in this filed with state-of-the-art ESG investment and analysis processes,” he starts. “Like any other leading asset manager, we need to develop our offering further and continuously improve our ability to meet growing client needs. My focus will be to do exactly that.”
Moving forward a traditional establishment as J. Safra Sarasin is no challenge for Beslik. “I would see our firm’s history as an advantage. A bank with 176 years of experience, long-term focus and integrated sustainability since 35 years is in my mind not what you would call a traditional bank, rather a financial institution for generations.”
As of the end of 2018, the bank reported CHF 164 billion (€150 billion) in AUM and ranked 5th largest banking group in Switzerland by Tier 1 capital. A large part of the assets belongs to high net-worth individuals or families, which already receive a high degree of transparency in terms of ESG- and Climate reporting from the bank. “It is obvious that there is a growing interest and focus coming from high net-worth clients,” adds Beslik. “We can see that from the range of products and solutions we offer today. The level of sophistication regarding products is increasing. Meanwhile, the solutions need to remain simple in what they enable clients to achieve. So that is a challenge for the next ten years for any asset manager in the world, and this is where JSS will make a difference.”
Looking at 2020, Beslik will be travelling between Zurich and Geneva and “other places in the world depending on client needs.” Going forward, he names only one wish: “for all finance to be sustainable, full stop.”