We are now half way through the year and starting to see a brighter horizon after 18 difficult months. The vaccination programmes are delivering positive results, reducing the severity of the impact and paving the way for a transition back to normal life - although this may well be different from what we knew before.
The pandemic has tested our ability to maintain servicing levels whilst adapting to remote working and pursuing strategic development programmes to add value for our stakeholders.
I have been particularly impressed by the many stories of personal challenges of CACEIS employees striving to uphold service levels whilst caring for friends and relatives - they serve as an inspiration to us all. Such resolve is key to taking on the industry’s many challenges as well, such as integrating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) regulations to provide transparency on investment sustainability. We also need to channel this personal determination to meet increasing client demand for auxiliary services such as securities lending, adding real value to clients’ business whilst operating within the bounds of ESG’s regulatory framework.
The value of assets worldwide that take into account ESG data for investment decisions has almost doubled over four years, and more than tripled since 2013, reaching $40.5 trillion in 2020. Over the same period, the size of fund management companies’ ESG-focused investment teams has also more than doubled according to an Opimas report published in 2020.
ESG capabilities are now a central concern for investment managers who require a host of related services covering benchmarking, rating, analytics, risk monitoring, and reporting. The nature of custody and depositary services, means we are in an excellent position to assist asset managers and asset owners with their ESG-related considerations along the entire value chain.
We are seeing rising client demand for consistent, qualitative ESG data from across asset classes, and the effectiveness of ESG-related servicing will depend heavily on data analytics capabilities. Harmonisation of ESG data calculation and reporting requirements is key, and the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) has put in place a valuable initial framework.
The support services CACEIS offers in relation to ESG ensure our clients operate in full compliance with current regulations, are responsible actors for their investors, and benefit from the business opportunities the ESG trend introduces.
Our ESG services include assisting securities owners in exercising their voting rights as part of a sustainable investment policy, assessing the ESG credentials of collateral provided in a securities lending operation, rating invested assets, and tools to calculate the optimal ESG/Performance balance point.
As an asset servicing player, CACEIS is genuinely committed to ESG, and our group’s long-standing corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy demonstrates this engagement. Since 2014, EcoVadis, the world’s largest and most trusted provider of business sustainability ratings, has performed an annual audit of our business policies and corporate initiatives. In 2020, CACEIS was awarded EcoVadis’ Platinum Medal, due to our ranking among the top 1% of all companies in our sector. Buoyed by this success, we have scheduled a series of new service offerings designed to assist our clients further in pursuing a sustainable approach to investment management.
In this edition of CACEIS News, we outline the details of our digital innovation drive and launch of a market-leading initiative in France to enable listed company shareholders to vote online at annual general meetings.
Another recent milestone for our group is the successful completion of the ninth and final wave of client migrations linked to our acquisition of KAS BANK in the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. For a year, close-knit teams of staff from operations, sales and support functions focused on migrating hundreds of clients and over €200 billion in assets to CACEIS’ IT systems.
In the same vein, our four new entities in Spain, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico joined CACEIS’ network at the end of 2019, and are now well-established members of our group. The new entities’ staff are well integrated into our international team-working organisation and share the same dedication to supporting clients’ business development objectives wherever they operate.
Finally, as we look to the future, optimistic that the global vaccine programmes will be effective in drawing a line under the pandemic, we welcome to the return of face-to-face meetings along with the continued flexibility of remote working practices that have benefitted us all in terms of our work/life balance. We are also eager to see the return of conferences and exhibitions such as the IPEM private equity event in Paris in September and October’s Fund Forum International in Monaco. Our staff look forward to meeting you there.
Enjoy the summer!
Carlos Rodríguez de Robles
Deputy CEO of CACEIS and Managing Director of CACEIS in Spain and Latin America