Comment on report on funds’ holdings with links to palm oil companies

A new report from the Fair Finance Guide examines Asian banks' financing of palm oil companies, due to the impact of these companies on the rainforest in Indonesia. Hans Ek, responsible for sustainability and ownership related questions within SEB Investment Management, the asset and fund management business at SEB, comments:

We follow the United Nation's recommendations. According to these, the investments highlighted in this report are too many levels from us for us to be able to influence, why we do not see the link the report points at.

SEB's fund companies also have no holdings in the banks mentioned in the report in its actively managed funds, only in index funds. According to the funds' rules, index funds must reflect their benchmarks. For investments in index funds we take the fund's predetermined exclusion criteria into account, according to the fund rules. Analysis in a broader perspective is only conducted for active investments. Those analyses of banks are taking into account the business model and sustainability work in the same way as, for example, profitability and credit risks.

Palm oil is one of the initiatives in the sustainability area that SEB's fund companies have focused on, especially during last year, in terms of investments in our actively managed funds.