Our heritage and evolution has been driven by focusing on future generations. Alexandre Lombard, the son of our founding partner, was actively involved with Henry Dunant in the creation of what would one day become the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and played a key role in Switzerland in the abolition of working Sundays, earning him the nickname “Lombard-Sunday.” He injected a long-term, socially conscious work ethic into our everyday. More recently, we have made pioneering contributions to the impact investment ecosystem. We were one of the first institutions to practice Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Shareholder Activism, developing ESG analysis as early as 1997. We also were among the first shareholders of BlueOrchard, a company that manages one of the very first microfinance investment funds, and Ethos, a foundation that promotes socially responsible investment. In 2007, we also entered in an exclusive partnership with Generation IM for continental Europe – one of the world’s leading specialists in sustainable investments.
Our Bank is an active member, when not cofounder, of many initiatives and associations that promote the adoption of SRI throughout the financial industry:
- Active member of Sustainable Finance Geneva (SFG), which promotes Sustainable Finance and positions Geneva as a sustainable finance centre
- Active member of Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF)
- Co-founder and member of Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) Investors Council
- Signatory of the 2014 Global Investor Statement on Climate Change
- Signatory of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
- Active participant at the TBLI Group conferences, which aim to build a global community of responsible financial investors
- Active participant at the Geneva Forum for Sustainable Investment
- Active participant at the Swiss Foundation Finance Workshop
Lombard Odier participates in numerous public events promoting responsible investing (Geneva Summit on Sustainable Finance as well as microfinance and impact investing conferences).
On the investment side, our vision includes three dimensions: return, risk and impact. Prosperous years following World War II saw the investment community focus almost exclusively on returns. Low volatility and bullish markets meant the priority was to pursue high-yield investments. This changed when the 1973 oil crisis injected sudden volatility into the market, introducing a second dimension: risk. New indicators and tools were developed to integrate the risk factor into investment strategies, and risk analysis became a fundamental part of each and every investment decision. What happened four decades ago is happening again today; but this time with impact. Shaped by client demand, regulatory change and the increasing relevance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, investors are beginning to take this third dimension seriously. Collective and commonly used metrics, tools and standards are yet to emerge, but it is only a matter of time before they do. Since 1997, Lombard Odier has influenced this evolution by demonstrating how positive environmental and social impact can sit alongside robust financial returns, while developing innovative impact investment solutions and advanced impact reporting tools for our clients. A full integration process is underway and will soon place impact criteria at the heart of all our investment strategies.
Concretely, our impact and responsible strategies are focused on six different areas which supports our principal concerns on sustainability issues:
1. Group policies on controversial investment, which exclude from all our portfolios companies involved in the production or distribution of controversial weapons (biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel mines, cluster weapons, depleted uranium, white phosphorus) and all financial instruments (futures, options, swaps, indices, exchange-traded funds) directly linked to ‘essential food commodities’ (wheat, rice, corn and soybeans). These four cereals form the basis of the human diet worldwide. Stable food prices are a crucial component of food security for many populations at risk.
2. Universe fitering and stock selection according to in-depth ESG analysis (negative norm-based, negative value-based) and ESG scoring (Our proprietary, innovative and dynamic ESG/CAR approach - Consciousness, Action, Results - aims to differentiate companies simply claiming good intentions from those which demonstrate actual results from actions undertaken. )
3. Impact analysis that include carbon intensity, stranded asset risks, water intensity, green share analysis and others indicators currently in developement.
4. Assessment of governments under ESG and impact perspective, that allows to develop dedicated strategies to sovereign bond management and geographical allocation. Following the same model as our ESG/CAR company analysis tool, we aims to assess how governments face global sustainability challenges of our times. Through our investment approach we wish to support sustainable governance and ultimately our goal is to reduce risk for investors.
5. We developed comprehensive engagement strategies and voting policies. We believe that integrating ESG issues into both investment analysis and stewardship practices is part of our fiduciary duty towards our clients and beneficiaries. Our proxy voting approach has clear decision-making guidelines that favour proposals which, in our opinion, are likely to maximise shareholder value, while mitigating the risk of potential conflict of interest and which take into account any costs to investors. These principles reflect our belief that sound corporate governance creates a framework for managing a company in the best interests of its shareholders.
6. Our reporting capacities give full transparency on ESG levels of their investments. We pride ourselves on producing clear and compelling information about the impact our clients’ money is having around the world. Our quantitative platform enables our team to implement and manage any type of sustainable and impact investment strategy over time. Our reporting tool allows us to closely monitor and measure the impact performance of different strategies. And our product-specific impact reports communicate the social and environmental impacts of client portfolios.