Author: Frank Van de Vel, Chief Investor Support Officer, KBC Asset Management
At KBC Asset Management, sustainability is so important that it is not part of a separate strategy, but is instead integrated into our overall corporate philosophy. We have embedded our beliefs about sustainability into four distinct pillars. Our priorities are to put our clients at the heart of everything we do, to offer our clients a unique bank-insurance experience, to focus on our group’s long-term development and aim in that way to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. We take our responsibility towards society and local economies very seriously.
At the core of our day-to-day motivation lies our motto: ‘Everyone invested all the time.’ We are passionate about our mission to make investing easy, personal, valuable and reliable. We always ensure that our clients’ interests are our main focus and strive to offer them a high-quality service and relevant solutions at all times. Close collaboration between the asset manager and the bank allows us to deliver a better and faster service to our clients.
Our unique strategy, powered by our business culture and the contributions made by our people, is instrumental in earning, keeping and growing trust day by day, and therefore helps us to become the reference in our core markets.
How we make a difference
We want to go beyond the typical corporate culture of sustainability and really make a difference to society. By going the extra mile, we can create added value and respond to actual societal needs. As part of our sustainability strategy, we have pledged to limit our negative impact on society by implementing strict policies and sustainability guidelines, by reducing our own environmental footprint and by focusing on our approach towards socially responsible investments.
We prioritise increasing our positive impact on society and actively look to make a difference to local communities through our everyday activities. We are conscious of the impact of our operations on society, and respond to societal needs and expectations in a balanced, relevant and transparent manner. In doing so, we acknowledge the special approach in each of the local economies of the core markets in which we operate.
Our people represent our ‘human capital’ and are one of the main drivers to creating sustainable value as a bank-insurer. We encourage all our employees to behave in a way that is responsive, respectful and result-driven.
We consider integrity, honesty and responsible behaviour among our employees as one of the most vital tenets of our business, to the extent that the mindset of all KBC staff should go beyond regulation and compliance.
Our sustainable client offering
We offer more than 200 sustainable and responsible investment funds, which gives our clients the opportunity to invest in companies and countries that recognise their social and environmental responsibility. This allows us to jointly contribute to a more sustainable society and to help limit the adverse impact that businesses have on society. Growing awareness of social, governance and environmental issues has led to interest in responsible investing products among private and institutional investors.
Responsible investing is a way of allowing clients to combine their financial goals with their concerns for the environment, society and corporate governance. KBC has been a pioneer in this area since 1992, the year it launched the first responsible investing fund in Belgium. Since then, we have regularly brought new solutions to the market and our methodology has become increasingly stringent.
In recent years, clients have increasingly wanted to make a positive contribution by investing in a socially responsible way. Currently, KBC Asset Management manages €32bn, or nearly 30 percent of assets, in responsible investing funds. In Belgium, around 70 percent of gross sales in funds go to responsible investing funds. In fact, they are the first option offered to clients. In our other core countries, namely the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, responsible investing plays an increasingly important role. We are pioneers in this area and aim to build upon our track record of responsible investing.
In the future
KBC Asset Management moves together with the markets and the preferences of our clients to keep its services up to date. We are constantly striving for innovation and exploring various routes that can help us and our clients. We want to be the reference point and to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Our innovative and personalised approach not only allows us to acquire new investors, allowing people from all walks of life to benefit from capital markets, but also ensures all our clients feel welcome and well looked after as they navigate the markets with us.