The Asset Management Association Switzerland (AMAS) will soon launch a Swiss Stewardship Code for asset owners, with the aim to promote active dialogue and exercise of shareholder rights in Switzerland, chief executive officer Adrian Schatzmann told IPE.
AMAS also published a year ago the self-regulation for sustainable finance, a further effort to make Switzerland a leading international hub for sustainability.
The Swiss Stewardship Code, which will be published in October together with Swiss Sustainable Finance, will serve as a guide to asset owners, as well as asset managers and other financial service providers.
“Furthermore, regulatory innovations, such as the intended introduction of the limited qualified investor fund (L-QIF), pursue the goal of launching more collective investment schemes domestically and thereby keeping a larger part of the value chain in Switzerland,” Schatzmann said.
Swiss asset managers have highlighted for the first time that finding customers represents the main challenge for them. Further challenges included regulation and competition, according to the AMAS’s Asset Management Study 2023.
Swiss asset managers normally tend to consider regulation as one of the top challenges, also in light of the restricted market access to the European Union, Schatzmann said.
He added: “The domestic market in Switzerland is of limited size and the competition in the asset management industry is both global and very intense. Creating new growth opportunities in markets abroad is thus of vital importance for future organic growth.”
Back to active strategies
Asset managers’ total assets in Switzerland grew by roughly 2.9% in H1 this year to reach CHF3.0trn. Last year, investors shifted assets back to more active management strategies, and approximately 70% of total assets under management are still managed actively, AMAS’s study showed.
Private equity saw the largest year-on-year increase in asset allocations – from 6.2% to 7.7% – but asset managers continue to invest mostly in traditional asset classes, including equity (27.8%), bonds (23.1%), multi-asset (19.8%), according to the study.
Equity had been steadily increasing from 2017 to 2021, but this trend stopped in 2022 with a year-on-year decrease from 31.2% to 27.8%.
“This decrease is mostly due to performance losses and increasing interest rates which are reflected in the increase of AUM in money markets, “ the CEO said, adding that the increase in private equity investments was mostly related to performance.
Pension funds remain the main clients of Swiss asset managers, with the largest share (41.4%) of total assets, followed by other institutional clients such as sovereign wealth funds, according to the study.
Bank für Kirche und Caritas (BKC), Shareholders for Change (SfC) and Union Investment have set out what they consider to be eight key characteristics of credible engagement to bring about positive social and environmental change.