Murielle Hermellin (pictured) is portfolio manager and head of SRI Fund Selection for Promepar Asset Management, a €2bn Paris-based boutique launched in 1992 and fully owned by French ccoperative banking group Bred.
Last year, the firm launched a socially responsible investing open-architecture offering for its mandate management business that represents half of its assets managed and is eligible to French equity savings plans PEA.
Surveyed in the May 2018 edition of InvestmentEurope on whether she views the inclusion of the United Nations sustainable development goals in funds as a form of “greenwashing”, Hermellin stresses that more and more asset managers incorporate UN SDGs in their strategies.
“SRI-focused companies increase their advertising on goals their funds aim to cover. “Greenwashing” or not, it remains difficult to find adequate metrics in order to measure the impact of these funds and to which extent they fulfil their objectives.
“A number of start-ups have been launched with the aim of gathering and calculating all sort of environmental data but finally, they remain unable to compare greenhouse gas emissions balances from a firm to another in a tangible way. I am therefore extremely cautious towards carbon footprint metrics. It will need time before we really get sorted,” Promepar AM’s SRI fund selection head answers.
Regarding France’s edge in SRI investments, Hermellin recalls that French SRI assets were representing 7.6% of the asset management industry’s total assets in 2015 or €274bn and €613bn by adding ESG-compliant assets (i.e. 17% of the French AM industry’s total assets). Such figures are now picking up. Promepar AM’s head of SRI Fund Selection says the local evolution of SRI was strongly fostered by an increase in requirements regarding companies’ social responsibility, both through the “soft” and the “hard” laws.
“We can mention there the articles 224 and 225 of the Grenelle II law, the Iso 26 000 norm, the French public authority-backed SRI label, the article 173 of the energy transition law and more recently, the report on the role of French companies suggesting to include the recognition of social and societal stakes in the companies’ definition itself. In addition, we could recall the role of the society and of clients who are asking for socially responsible finance.
“Moreover, in France, we achieve to make the difference between impact investment, SRI, thematic funds, social economy and solidarity funds whereas in other countries such as the United States, all are gathered in the same bucket,” Hemellin argues.
Read more about SRI views of Promepar AM’s head of SRI Fund Selection in the latest edition of InvestmentEurope.