Knut Hellandsvik, Head of Equities
I think that both we and the rest of the industry will increasingly be looking for solutions-driven companies, which are truly "future-proof". The asset management industry will play an important role as we steer capital into companies that help solve problems and punish companies that do not take proper care of the environment, their employees and their stakeholders. These companies will have higher capital costs and will be forced to improve their practices. As interest in ESG is increasing, there is a potential risk of bubbles being created as a result of too much investment capital chasing relatively few investment ideas. This trend is also exacerbated by the fact that an increasing share of ESG funds is being passively managed. Since we, as active investors, focus on generating alpha for our clients, there are opportunities as well as risks.
Given the ongoing global pension reform, which requires workers to take more responsibility for their own investments, combined with a world of low returns, I believe that the asset management industry will play an even more important role in providing solutions for both individuals and institutions.
I believe DNB AM will be able to score in these areas. Having one of the largest teams of active fund managers in Norway with an office in a liveable city like Oslo is a good starting point in being a preferred employer. Furthermore, we believe in specialization to generate alpha over time - and therefore focus on sectoral and thematic funds as well as on specific regions. Last but not least, it is important to be able to take advantage of the synergies that arise from a large team of specialists. This is an aspect we are working on every day.
Svein Aage Aanes, Head of Fixed Income
The increased focus on sustainability will not significantly change our work as we have been dealing with these issues for a long time. It is obvious that the content of this term will evolve and change over time. It will also improve access to data that can be evaluated more objectively by the ESG teams of individual companies. Therefore, as asset managers, we are constantly challenged to further develop our ESG analysis and our work. It is hard for me to see anything else but positive effects in our fixed income markets. First and foremost because I believe that companies that take sustainability seriously are better able to survive and thrive (and pay back the money they borrowed). In this sense, an increased focus on sustainability by our customers, ourselves and the issuers will create stronger companies together, while helping to create a better future for all of us.
I hope that the financial industry in general and the asset management industry in particular will be seen as part of the solution when it comes to sustainability. We already see some signs of this as business leaders and the asset management industry are, in some cases, well ahead of the political authorities on some of these issues. Hopefully, this development will continue, so that the asset management industry can be the engine of change.
DNB Asset Management has a very strong foothold in the Norwegian and Nordic region. I believe that this is a region that will continue to develop economically well over the next decade, at least compared to the industrialized world. Furthermore, I think DNB Asset Management is well positioned with local know-how and long-established contacts.
Janicke Scheele, Head of Responsible Investments
ESG risks and opportunities are already integrated in our investment decisions both in equities and fixed income. The UN Sustainable Development Goals together with the Paris Agreement on combating climate change set an ambitious policy agenda to achieve sustainable economic, social and environmental development by 2030. We are a long-term investor and dependent on sustainable global economic growth. With this in mind, we need to understand the role we play in achieving these goals and the risks imposed on companies that fail to take these goals into consideration.
The private sector has been called upon to play a key role in the implementation of the Paris Agreement and sustainable development goals. Climate change, the transition to a green economy and the sustainable development goals are an opportunity for the private sector to take action to achieve these ambitious goals. As asset managers, we can contribute both indirectly and directly to this effort, which we believe to be extremely important. In order to be among the leading investors in the coming decade, asset managers will undoubtedly need to consider both. Consideration for sustainability is a demand from our customers and we are seeing a growing demand for responsible and sustainable products in both the retail and institutional segments.
We intend to continue being a major responsible and sustainable player.