Ethix in talks with institutions, Wassum tie

SWEDEN – Socially responsible investing consultant Ethix has confirmed it may sell a stake to institutional investors – and that it has entered a cooperation with Hewitt affiliate Wassum.

“Ethix is in the final stages of negotiations with a few institutional investors for a stakeholder position in Ethix,” the firm said in a statement.

In December it emerged that Sjunde AP-fonden, the seventh Swedish National Pension Fund, and a number of other institutions were considering taking approximately 50% in the firm. Ulrika Hasselgren, one of Ethix’s founders, said today that pension funds “could” be among those interested.

Peter Norman, the executive president of AP7, was unavailable for comment.

Ethix, a spin-off of consulting firm CaringCompany–Etikanalytikerna, also announced that it is to launch a joint holding company with Wassum Investment Network called ‘We Invest’. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Wassum is an affiliate of US-based consulting firm Hewitt Associates.

The partnership would mean a “rapid expansion” of SRI across Scandinavia, said Hasselgren.

Wassum has been prompted to take part in the joint venture by SRI’s fast development in Sweden and in the Nordic region, said managing director Jan Bernhard Waage.

Waage said: “This is something that clients seem to be very much interested in. It is very much on the agenda of public investors. It has been more and more important in the last couple of years.”

“In some cases, we saw clients felt they had to reduce or sell out their portfolio, because they were criticised for not having ethical investments.”

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