Sustainable investments

Sustainability is important, not only to us at SEB but also to our customers and society. For us it is about making better investment decisions and protecting our customers’ money. 

SEB is one of the largest institutional investors in the Nordic region with SEK 2,041 billion in assets under management for private, corporate and institutional clients. We invest in businesses that actively manage the environmental, social and governance aspects of their business as we believe they will be more successful over time and that this will add value for our customers, the companies we invest in and for society.

Our philosophy

SEB aims to integrate sustainability aspects into all types of investments and in all asset classes. The investment strategies are based on the inclusion of companies that perform well in sustainability or have well-defined transition plans, exclusion of sectors or companies that do not abide by our fund company’s sustainability criteria and continuous engagement with the companies in which it invests. Read more about how we exclude, include and influence here.

Raised sustainability level

During 2019 SEB further raised the level of sustainability in its own funds. At year-end, 35 (30) per cent, SEK 256bn, were managed according to SEB’s fund company's highest level of  sustainability criteria. Of SEB’s total assets under management, 13 (11) per cent were managed according to the same criteria.  

PRI signatory 

SEB is a signatory of the PRI since 2008 and has since then reported yearly on how SEB complies with the six PRI principles. In PRI’s grading of sustainable investments 2019, SEB received an A rating. SEB Life & Pension has signed the PRI as an asset owner. Adding the asset-owner perspective gives SEB access to new collaboration forums and the possibility to pursue sustainability issues with other capital owners and make demands on external investment managers.

Evaluation of external funds

Mutual funds from suppliers other than SEB (external funds) are evaluated from a sustainability perspective by a special fund analysis team. The evaluation is integrated in the entire decision-making process, both in the selection of funds and the monitoring of selected managers. In 2019 the evaluation covered 64 funds in various asset classes and the managers are located all over the world. Furthermore, in 2019 an evaluation of SEB’s own funds was initiated to achieve harmonisation between our internal and external offering of sustainable funds.

Impact investing

SEB is one of the largest microfinance fund managers in Europe. By investing in microfinance institutions, investors can earn a return while making a social impact. Through some 60 microfinance institutions, SEB’s microfinance funds offer loans to people with lower income in developing countries, people who are often excluded from the financial market. SEB manages 7 microfinance funds with a total value of close to SEK 9bn, reaching more than 25 million entrepreneurs in some 60 developing countries.

The new Lyxor SEB Impact Fund invests in companies that contribute to solving future global challenges. The companies operate in five areas linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – sustainable energy, water supply, food and agriculture, resource efficiency and social development. At year-end, the fund had SEK 1.4bn in assets under management. The total value of SEB Impact and thematic funds (includes microfinance funds, Impact Opportunity Fund, Green Bond Fund and Lyxor SEB Impact Fund) was at year-end SEB over 11 billion.

Measuring portfolio sustainability

The SEB Impact Metric Tool is a quantitative analysis tool that measures sustainability in equity portfolios. A multitude of sustainability dimensions can be calculated, for example the extent to which an investment portfolio is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The calculations are based on publicly available company information as well as own estimation models.

 In 2019, the tool was further developed so that it also measures the percentage of a portfolio that can be classified as sustainable according to the EU Taxonomy. SEB Impact Metric Tool gives us the opportunity to have forward-looking discussions about the forthcoming regulation and other portfolio sustainability dimensions with our clients. Last year, we analyzed more than 100 customer portfolios.