Sustainability criteria are also used in the management of mutual funds. The funds managed by Deka Investment GmbH do not invest in companies that produce anti-personnel mines or cluster ammunition ("cluster bombs"). In addition, DekaBank does not issue any products that reflect the price development of basic foodstuffs.
In recent years Deka Investment GmbH has launched a series of corresponding investment products for private and institutional investors who wish to take ESG criteria into particular account. The "Deka-Sustainability" fund family currently comprises the three funds Deka-Sustainability Equities, Deka-Sustainability Bonds and Deka-Sustainability Balance. The range also includes the asset management fund DekaSelect: Sustainability and the Deka-UmweltInvest equity fund, which invests exclusively in companies in the fields of climate and environmental protection, water management and renewable energies.
At the end of 2015, DekaBank, in cooperation with the sustainability rating agency oekom research, launched the index fund Deka Oekom Euro Nachhaltigkeit UCITS ETF for institutional investors. The two Deka-Stiftungen Balance funds and Deka- Kirchen Balance, launched in December 2015, are also aimed at institutional investors. In the current foundation fund ranking by fund consultant Fonds Consult, the Deka-Stiftung Balance fund has risen to third place overall with an overall grade of "very good". Detailed profiles of all funds can be found on Deka's website. In addition to the funds, DekaBank offers institutional investors individual investment solutions that take full account of the respective sustainability-related requirements and criteria.
Awards for the Deka-Sustainability Bonds fund once again show that sustainability criteria and good performance are not mutually exclusive. At the end of 2016, for example, the fund was named best fund in the "Euro Bonds" category of the FERI Awards 2017 in Germany and Austria, outperforming conventional bond funds. The fund was also awarded at the Lipper Fonds Awards Austria in 2016. Lipper stated in the explanatory statement that the fund shows that sustainable investment does not rule out achieving outstanding investment results.
Sustainable securities investments are possible in DekaBank custody accounts from 25 euros. The Deka-Sustainability Equities fund is also suitable for investing capital-forming benefits. From January 2017, customers will be able to choose the Deka-Sustainability Equities Fund as a stock component when concluding the Deka Future Plan, a Riester fund savings plan, and the Deka-Sustainability Pension Fund as a pension component, thus investing in sustainability-oriented funds during the savings phase.
In the private customer segment, Deka Investment GmbH managed a total of around 2.7 billion euros in sustainable products as at the end of 2017, 30 per cent more than at the same time last year. For institutional clients, the volume of sustainable investments amounted to around EUR 5.3 billion as of December 31, 2017. The total volume of sustainable investment products at Deka Investment GmbH thus amounts to over 8.0 billion euros. Sustainable securities funds accounted for around 3 percent of total securities assets at the end of 2017. Adding in the approximately 2.9 billion euros of own investments in special funds, which are managed using the criteria of the own investment filter, the total volume of sustainably managed investments in the Deka Group amounts to 10.9 billion euros.
Taking into account the approximately EUR 17.1 billion in own investments in securities managed using the criteria of the own investment filter, the total volume of sustainably managed investments in the Deka Group amounts to around EUR 28 billion.
By signing up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN-PRI), Deka Investment GmbH has undertaken to comply with the UN’s guidelines on environmental, social and governance issues relevant to financial markets. This includes actively incorporating these issues into shareholder policy, such as voting at shareholders’ meetings. Another element is a commitment to ensuring that the companies and entities being invested in disclose information on these matters in an appropriate way. Further information and the full text of the principles can be found at www.unpri.org.
In addition to the application of exclusion and positive criteria, the exercise of voting rights at annual general meetings and direct dialogue with the companies whose shares and bonds an investor holds are further important instruments for sustainable capital investment. In addition to corporate governance issues, social and environmental aspects of the business activities were regularly addressed, depending on the industry and business model of the respective company. Deka Investment GmbH intends to attract even more attention to its four million fund investors at future Annual General Meetings. In 2017, Deka Investment actively voted at 314 Annual General Meetings. The fact that Deka Investment GmbH voted against the proposals of company management on more than 30 per cent of the average agenda items shows that it is much more critical of its role as an active shareholder. In the previous year, the share had still been 20 percent. Representatives of Deka Investment spoke at nine Annual General Meetings.
Deka Investment GmbH plans to further expand its activities at Annual General Meetings in 2018. In addition to the topic of corporate governance, particular attention will be paid to the topics of climate strategy, digitization and cyber security, among others.
With these activities, Deka is already taking up the new requirements of the Shareholders' Rights Directive, which was approved by the EU Parliament in spring 2017 and adopted by the European Council and must now be transposed into national law by mid-2019. The reform of the Shareholders' Rights Directive is intended to strengthen and facilitate the commitment of shareholders and create incentives for long-term investments by selected institutional investors and asset managers.
The Shareholders' Rights Directive also obliges institutional investors and asset managers to create greater transparency with regard to their investment strategies, their participation policy and its implementation. Deka Investment has already defined key points for its voting behaviour in its "Principles of voting policy at Annual General Meetings", which are published on Deka's website, as well as an overview of Annual General Meetings at which Deka Investment GmbH voted in 2017. The principles are based on Deka's extensive experience as one of the major fund providers and thus shareholder representatives. They take into account the applicable laws, the current analysis guidelines for Annual General Meetings of the Federal Association of Investment and Asset Management (BVI), the German Corporate Governance Code, the DVFA Scorecard for Corporate Governance, international codes and relevant environmental and social standards and the requirements of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).