ACATIS has had an interest in sustainability for many years. When our partner Faik Yargucu joined the company, he was already responsible for marketing a very successful sustainability investment fund, Panda Renditefonds DWS, at the end of the 1990s. Therefore we - as convinced value investors - have considered this issue for a long time already. We are also convinced that ecology and sustainability will become more important in the future, also for financial investments.
In 2007/2008, we combined sustainability (Fair) and Value under the name “ACATIS Fair Value” together with the Swiss firm ACATIS Fair Value Investment AG, which is based in Walzenhausen, Switzerland. Managing Director and initiator Rainer Unterstaller is responsible for selecting companies based on sustainable and ethical aspects. This combination has proved to be a strong unique selling point and in the past delivered higher returns than individually applied strategies (over longer time periods). Our sustainability funds show: Sustainability is not a hobby, but rather can become a real performance criterion.
Initially, the globally-investing equity fund (ACATIS Fair Value Aktien Global, ISIN I0017502381) and a balanced fund (ACATIS Fair Value Modulor Vermögensverwaltungsfonds, ISIN LU0278152516) were converted to sustainability; the former Panda bond fund was added to this group in May 2010 under the new name ACATIS Fair Value Bonds (ISIN DE0009769844). We also manage special mandates with sustainable companies, and we are also an investment advisor for PRIMA Global Challenges, an index-tracking globally-investing equity fund.
This part is the responsibility of ACATIS Fair Value Investment AG. It selects companies according to sustainable and ethical aspects, the ACATIS Fair Value sustainability criteria. It supplies the investable stock universe that it defines together with Hanover-based rating firm Imug/ Vigeo-EIRIS, and which it approves through an independent sustainability advisory board (the “conscience” for the funds).
The criteria were developed together with our clients. They are continuously monitored and reviewed. In summary: Those companies that meet and comply with high standards regarding business, social, ethical and ecological criteria are selected. In more detail: We filter and assess based on a points system.
- Companies with obviously negative characteristics are filtered out: They include corruption and accounting fraud, embryonic stem cell research, child labour, oil from tar sands, shale and power plant coal.
- Companies in which e.g. alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling, nuclear energy, armament and weapons account for more than 5% of sales revenues are also excluded.
- Countries that enforce the death penalty, possess nuclear weapons or whose share of nuclear power exceeds 15% are excluded.
- In 2017, the exclusion list consisting of companies in which the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund does not invest was added to the prohibited list.
- Negative points are applied for deficiencies regarding the environment, the social area and company management. Companies with more than 10 negative points are filtered out.
- Companies can win positive points if they impress with social and ecological aspects, clean water and air, recycling and the use of renewable energies for example. If a company has more than six positive points, it can generally be considered a candidate for our sustainability universe.
At this time, the sustainability universe includes 2,200 admissible companies, 500 bond issuers and 31 countries.
First we run the “Fair” evaluation, and only then the Value evaluation according to our value investing criteria.
FNG seal and transparency code
All of our sustainability funds feature the FNG seal (one star) and the logo for the transparency code.
The FNG seal was awarded for the first time in 2016. Only candidates that strictly comply with the high quality standards for sustainability investments in the German-speaking regions, which were developed by the Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen e.V. (FNG), are eligible for the seal. It provides investors with a rapid and secure orientation aid when investing in sustainable funds.
The transparency code is awarded by EUROSIF (European Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum). The seal has been available for mutual funds since May 2008; it provides investors with a tool for determining - quickly and securely - whether the investment strategy complies with the sustainability requirements of the European Transparency Code.
Since 19 November 2018, we are a signatory of the investor initiative PRI, which was launched in partnership with the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact. In addition, our sustainability funds meet the even stricter ACATIS Fair Value sustainability criteria (see the text "What is Fair - how do we define sustainability?").