Asset Management Awards for Excellence 2021 – Best Fund Provider – ESG/Sustainable Investing

2021 Winners

Best Fund Provider – ESG/Sustainable Investing

BNP Paribas Asset Management

Paul Milon
head of Stewardship Asia Pacific
BNP Paribas Asset Management

We are pleased to be named Asian Private Banker’s Best Fund Provider – ESG/Sustainable Investing for 2021.

BNP Paribas Asset Management has been a major player in sustainable and responsible investment since 2002, and sees itself as a strategic enabler of growth. Sustainable investing came under a stronger spotlight in 2020, with better resilience during the market downturn in 1Q20 and strong performance from ESG thematic solutions. This, in turn, has fuelled investor interest in allocating their money more sustainably.

As we forge ahead with our conviction to move sustainable investing into the mainstream of capital markets, we will continue to promote and develop innovative solutions — enabling investors to achieve both financial and sustainability objectives.

At a time when almost every funds house globally is anxious to state its commitment to the sustainable investing cause and double down by launching and articulating sustainability frameworks, processes and products, BNP Paribas Asset Management, a founding signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment, has demonstrated what it means to walk the talk by embedding sustainability in the core of its activities and ethos.

The bedrock of the firm’s approach to sustainable investment is its own Global Sustainability Strategy. Launched in 2019, the framework codifies BNP Paribas Asset Management’s sustainability philosophy, commitment, and investment beliefs — from aligning its fiduciary duty with sustainable actions to realising obligations and opportunities of stewardship. Crucially, it provides investors and internal stakeholders with clarity, transparency, and accountability.

Building on this framework, BNP Paribas Asset Management has developed its solutions shelf by adding strategies that are differentiated and meaningful from a portfolio perspective.

This includes the firm’s specialist Sustainable+ fund range, which goes a step further by implementing more explicit ESG tilts and adopting a thematic or impact approach.

Its revamped BNP Energy Transition strategy, which demonstrated remarkable downside cushioning during the market sell-off early on in 2020, generated a return of over 164% in 2020. The fund also recorded strong inflows over the course of 2020. In the same period, BNP Paribas Asset Management tapped into ever-persistent yield demand in Asia by launching what was billed as the “first ESG Fixed Maturity Plan (FMP)” in the region — a strategy that fully integrates ESG analysis and stewardship into its investment approach with the aim of reducing default risk via ESG-informed selection. The FMP is backed by a team of 25 seasoned sustainability analysts and strategists with direct involvement in the firm’s ESG scoring and methodology, policy agenda, integration, and stewardship projects.

BNP Paribas Asset Management also launched its latest flagship strategy, BNP Paribas EARTH (Environmental Absolute Return Thematic), a first-ever liquid long-short ESG fund that aims to take advantage of the shift from a fossil-fuel and coal-based energy mix towards sustainable and renewable energy production.

In terms of its sustainability offering, the concerted steps taken by BNP Paribas Asset Management over the past decade have translated into significant and sustained inflows: globally, AUM in its sustainable and ESG thematic funds almost doubled over the course of 2019 to €13 billion and has continued to grow, making it the world’s number one manager in sustainable thematic funds, by some measure.

Here in Asia, the firm backs up its sustainable product offering with a training and thought leadership programme that includes its “Sustainable Investing Game Show” designed for private banking partners and in collaboration with the CFA Institute and the group’s renowned Sustainable Future Forum which was conducted virtually in 2020. Private banking clients also benefited from a webinar series which focused in part on the firm’s new methodology for ESG scoring and the launch of a new digital app — ‘PLAM!’ — for engaging with the fund house on sustainability and product.

Its sales initiatives driven in the region by a dedicated team — with an average of 13 years’ experience in financial markets and backgrounds in solutions and product structuring — BNP Paribas Asset Management has distinguished itself as a firm that walks, talks, and ultimately delivers best-in-class, differentiated sustainable investment opportunities with a conviction that stems from the top and permeates the entire organisation.

BNP Paribas Asset Management is Asian Private Banker’s Best Fund Provider – ESG/Sustainable Investing for 2021.