Fund Awards: 'Greenwashing is Still Our Biggest Threat'

VIDEO: Robeco International head of wholesale Nick Keem tells Ollie Smith why his group was the worthy winner of Morningstar's best asset manager – sustainability award

Ollie Smith 27 March, 2023 | 10:21AM
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Ollie Smith: Well, the award for best asset manager in the sustainability category was always going to be a topical one, wasn't it? But this year, it fell to Robeco International to pick up the gong. Nick Keem, head of wholesale at the company, joins me now.

Nick, congratulations. How do you feel?

Nick Keem: Well, it's fantastic to pick up the award. It's a real honour to be recognized by such a prestigious company as Morningstar. So, I guess I should say my thanks to all the analysts and the staff at Morningstar for this award tonight and all of my colleagues who are either enjoying the party downstairs or are in Rotterdam or Zurich or other offices around the globe. This is really for them and all the work they do in helping to deliver further sustainable outcomes for all of our clients.

OS: Fantastic. Sustainability is often associated with being a good company. What do you think it takes to be a good asset manager in 2023?

NK: The landscape is always evolving, isn't it? There's always change. So, I think it's probably two or three key things that we should always bear in mind. You need to keep that long-term focus, be true to your values, be true to your principles. There's going to be volatility along the way, particularly with everything that we see going on nowadays. So, keep that long-term vision. But first and foremost, who are we here to serve? It's our clients. So, we need to keep our clients front and center in all that we think about, all that we do. And through this journey that we're all going on, we can then work together to, again, deliver these sustainable outcomes for the better of both ourselves and clearly, our clients.

OS: Sure. And just finally, I suppose this is a great event to celebrate sustainable investing, but some people would say that there are numerous threats to ESG and the sustainability agenda. What do you think the biggest threat is to sustainable investing?

NK: Well, there's a clear obvious one, isn't there? Which is greenwashing, impact washing, however you want to phrase it. So, I think that's the biggest threat to us as a sustainable investing industry, one that we need to monitor, one that we need to police as an industry and keep a close eye on. Clearly taxonomy coming through will help us to do that. But that is the biggest challenge to us all.

OS: Nick, congratulations. Thanks so much for your time.

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Ollie Smith

Ollie Smith  is editor of Morningstar UK

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