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Swiss roundup: Zurich corruption trial, Swisscanto, SRI

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  • Swiss roundup: Zurich corruption trial, Swisscanto, SRI

SWITZERLAND - The Zurich public prosecutor has filed embezzlement charges against a former DL Investment Partners managing director who managed money for the canton of Zurich's public pension fund (BVK).

The start of the bribery/corruption trial against the BVK's former head of asset management, Daniel Gloor, as well as several of his former business partners, is set for July.

In the course of its investigation, the Zurich public prosecutor has brought additional charges against one former asset manager already accused in the alleged bribery and corruption scheme surrounding Gloor.

The public prosecutor noted that the charges for embezzlement were filed in summary proceedings against a "former managing director and partner of DL Investment Partners who has already been charged with bribery in September 2011", without stating his name.

Last year, DL Investment Partners confirmed to IPE that former managing director and founder Thomas Leupin had been charged. 

In a statement, the Zurich public prosecutor said the accused had confessed to having received kickbacks on investors' assets - without the knowledge of the BVK.

It said the kickbacks "amounted to around CHF3m (€2.5m) for himself rather than passing them on to the BVK, as he would have been obliged to under the contractual agreement".

The prosecutor also noted that the accused had "acted in his exclusively internal field of competence and without knowledge of his business partners".

In other news, Swisscanto reported "encouraging improvement" in the financial standing of Swiss Pensionskassen in its calculations for the first quarter, based on asset allocations as at the end of 2011.

The most recent calculations for the Swisscanto Pensionskassen monitor show a "slight improvement" in average funding levels, which increased from 97% to 98.8% over the first quarter, bringing them almost back up to the levels seen at the beginning of 2011.

Both private and public funds' average funding level appreciated by around 1.8%, with the first reaching 105% on average and the latter 89.9%.

Swisscanto said the pension institutions surveyed achieved an average asset-weighted yield of 2.5% since the beginning of 2012, and that the share of underfunded Pensionskassen fell from 26% to 17% over the first quarter.

Meanwhile, FNG, the forum for sustainable investments, reported an unchanged volume of socially responsible investment (SRI) assets in Switzerland for 2011 year-on-year.

As at the end of December, CHF42.3bn in assets were invested according to sustainability criteria -around 1% more than at year-end 2010, the FNG said.

Most of the money (53%) is still invested using funds, but FNG said institutional investors had increased their commitment over the last year and pushed the share of individual mandates to 44%. 

In the bond area, too, the share of assets invested according to sustainability criteria increased by 10 percentage points to 31%.

While the market environment was "difficult" last year, Ivo Knoepfel, author of the study and managing director at onValues, said he recognised a "clear trend" towards more SRI commitment and active shareholder engagement in particular.

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