In relation to the increased sensitivity on the subject on the part of its reference market, as well as on the impulse of regulatory changes, Quaestio – sensitive since the very beginning of its history, to the sustainability of financial choices concerning assets under management - has recently strengthened the process aimed at measuring, evaluating and assessing the effects of the degree of sustainability of investments. Among the initiatives undertaken in the last year are:
a strengthening of corporate governance by assigning certain SRI-related tasks to an internal board;
the adoption of a specific SRI policy, accessible from the link at the bottom of this page;
the change in the remuneration policy of SGR staff and of the related evaluation parameters for the provision of the variable component, in order to include the SRI topics (an extract of the policy is available on the SGR website);
the internalisation of the entire sustainability assessment process, including the drafting of the various Watch Lists;
the increase in the number of Providers, which has allowed for a considerable increase in the data available for evaluations;
the appreciation of tail risks related to sustainable investments compared to Quaestio's investment performance;
the introduction of "Violator Swaps" to carry out and promote engagement activities, zeroing the financial exposure on specific securities while maintaining their ownership;
the adherence to the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) which involves the preparation of the first PRI Report in March 2021;
the certification of adherence to the Principles of Investment of the Catholic Church;
the establishment and institutionalisation of an SRI Committee for all sustainable investment matters;
the increasing of the number of resources dedicated to sustainability issues;
the start of Stewardship activities, in accordance with some of the campaigns promoted by the PRI.
The investment policies of the following funds and sub-funds managed by Quaestio are based, inter alia, on SRI criteria:
1. Quaestio Solutions Funds;
2. Quaestio Alternative Funds, limited to some sub-funds;
3. Quaestio International Funds, limited to some sub-funds;
4. Quaestio Private Markets Funds, European Private Debt sub-fund.
More specifically, the prospectus of the products referred to in points from 1. to 3. defines as SRI those investments that endeavour to avoid investing in (i) companies directly linked to controversial weapons (anti-personnel mines, fragmentation bombs, depleted uranium munitions, biological, chemical or nuclear weapons etc.) such as companies that are in breach with the Convention on Cluster Munitions (“CCM”), the Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction; (ii) companies associated with serious violations of the principles of the UN Global Compact; (iii) companies belonging to the fossil fuel sector, which determines a significant influence on the climate change; (iv) government bonds issued by nondemocratic countries in which serious violations of human rights occur.
The sub-fund referred to in point 4., on the other hand, encourages the vehicles in which it is invested to select investments according to the SRI principles and in particular to avoid companies not compliant with the Convention mentioned in the previous paragraph.
For the internal management and for the majority of the delegated managers the declination of the SRI principles happens through the collaboration established with MSCI and the elaboration of a “watch list" which identifies the issuers for which they record breaches of the aforesaid criteria; This list is also completed, in accordance with internally defined criteria, by some countries toward which exposures of the funds are considered inappropriate due to restriction of human rights observed in them. Alternatively, the delegated mangers can refer to their “SRI policy” instead of the “watch list”, once it has examined and approved by Quaestio’s internal department, both during the conferral of the mandate and during the periodic monitoring.
In addition to that, Quaestio set up a special Committee, whose responsibility ranges from supervising all SRI issues to defining an appropriate internal policy. The independence of the Committee is ensured by the participation of the Chief Risk Officer, who reports directly to the senior Management.
Annually, SGR compiles a summary report of the results about respect and results concerning the application of SRI principles, whether internal or sub-investment Managers.
In June 2020 Quaestio Capital SGR S.p.A. formalizes the adhesion and commitment to apply and promote the Principles for Responsible Investment - PRI promulgated in 2006 by the United Nations, through the United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) programs.
Finally, with regard to the disclosure provided for by Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 of 27.11.2019 (the so-called "SFDR"), it should be noted that Quaestio, in this first phase, does not take into consideration the negative effects of investment decisions on sustainability factors in order to devote the maximum effort to refine the new processes described above and integrate the methodologies adopted. There is a commitment for the future to consider these effects in a timing and modalities that cannot be fully defined at the moment.