Interview with Amundi’s Deputy Global Head of Institutional Clients - Frédéric Samama
Climate Action recently spoke with Frédéric Samama, Deputy Global Head of Institutional Clients of Amundi - Gold Sponsor of the upcoming Sustainable Investment Forum on 20th September in New York.
Firstly, could you please explain who Amundi are and what you do?
With over €1,000 billion of assets under management worldwide(1), Amundi is the leading European asset manager(2).
Located at the heart of the main investment regions in more than 30 countries, Amundi offers a comprehensive range of products covering all asset classes and major currencies.
Amundi has developed savings solutions to meet the needs of more than 100 million retail clients worldwide and designs innovative, high-performing products for institutional clients which are tailored specifically to their requirements and risk profile.
The Group contributes to funding the economy by orienting savings towards company development.
Amundi has become a leading European player in asset management, recognised for:
- Product performance and transparency;
- Quality of client relationships based on a long-term advisory approach;
- Efficiency in its organisation and teams’ promise to serving its clients;
- Commitment to sustainable development and socially responsible investment policies.
As a committed player, Amundi was one of the first asset managers to become a signatory of the PRI in 2006 and take an active part in the many working groups conducted by market bodies so as to move responsible finance, sustainable development and corporate governance forward.
(1) Amundi fi gures as of 30 June 2016.
(2) No.1 European asset manager based on global assets under management (AUM) and the main headquarters being based in continental Europe - Source IPE “Top 400 asset managers”
Published in June 2016 and based on AUM as at December 2015.
What sets Amundi apart from its competitors?
Amundi is a global organisation that embraces a European approach to investing.
We have a culture that encourages individuals to make the appropriate judgements and deliver the outcomes our clients are seeking.
This is characterised by deep, research-led thinking with a mathematical bias underpinning our investment philosophies. We are team-focused, balancing experience with diversity of investment thought through the development of younger team members.
Our investment approach is solutions-driven, engaging with our clients on specific requirements and building out capabilities to address their needs. This culture creates a professional environment, focused on delivering solid outcomes and a strong awareness of client objectives.
As the investment landscape becomes evermore complex and clients’ governance budgets more stretched, there is an increasing need for a strong alignment of interests between them and the asset managers they entrust with the investments.
At Amundi, we believe we have in place the appropriate culture, infrastructure and motivational arrangements to ensure we operate in our clients’ best interests and partner in the successes and challenges they face.
Amundi is recognised for its commitment to sustainable development and socially responsible investment policies. Why is acting socially and sustainably responsible so important?
Investment risk is a multi-faceted issue and cannot be reduced purely to statistical measures. Portfolio teams need to be aware of risks beyond purely the financial. Therefore, we recognise via our investments, the need to support businesses that are well run, provide a safe working environment and that sustain good practice when it comes to environmental and social considerations.
As a group, Amundi carries out extensive research on the environmental, social and governance practices of the companies that we may invest in. Any entity that falls short of our minimum standard is prohibited from being included in any portfolio
We take seriously our role as one of the world’s largest asset managers and recognise our clients have moral as well as legal obligations to their beneficiaries.
It is very important, therefore, that we act responsibly as an investor and articulate to our actual or potential investment companies the high standards we demand.
Amundi’s engagement is also reflected in its participation in the main market initiative ( Green Bonds Principles
Amundi’s engagement is also reflected in its participation in the main market initiatives (IIGCC, Carbon Disclosure Project, Green Bonds Principles, Paris declaration on Green Bonds, etc.) and of course the founding of the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition in 2014 that has since gathered more than $600bn of commitments.
What are Amundi’s plans for the future?
Amundi chooses to promote responsible finance that respects human values.
To achieve this goal, Amundi aims at:
- Developing responsible finance - Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria are incorporated into our analysis processes and we keep them in mind when making investment decisions.
- Financing the real economy – Amundi provides entrepreneurs with help and guidance because financing the economy and developing companies is part of what Amundi is all about. These innovative schemes, which work as partnerships, bring together the common interests of investors, borrowers, banks and asset managers.
- Supporting research and debate on the asset management industry – Amundi actively supports academic research and has formed partnerships with a number of university chairs including Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investment and Columbia.
- Affirming our role as a corporate citizen - Amundi works to apply the principles of social responsibility to its own organisation. In keeping with our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, we are constantly striving to reduce our ecological footprint amongst other criteria and are fully determined to respect these commitments both in France and at an international level.
Amundi is sponsoring the Sustainable Investment Forum which will take place in September. What were your motivations behind your involvement with this event?
At Amundi, we believe that the finance sector together with the asset owners can make the difference to make another future real.
The sustainable investment forum gathers around 300 stakeholders from national and regional governments, international finance, private industry and carbon management sectors – the perfect event where we think we can share with our peers regarding the trends, the best practices but also participate in progressing the dialogue on the development of effective public-private funding mechanisms for scaling low carbon innovation.
Working with various institutions, academicians and other market practitioners, Amundi succeeded to develop solutions and initiatives consistent with its objective to support investors in their will to invest responsibly related to climate issues.
We are convinced that we need each other as thinking together about innovative solutions is key to finance the energy transition with sustainable actions.
You, personally, will be speaking at SInv. Could you give us a brief outline on what you will be discussing?
My presentation will particularly focus on the three following aspects:
- Financial Innovation as a way to overcome the obstacles to invest
=> Illustration with Low Carbon Indices
- Commitment of asset owners to take actions and share the Best Practices
=> Illustration with the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition
- What’s next: the necessary step to accelerate the process (regulatory evolutions)
=> Illustration with the French law (article 173 – Loi TEE)