Our philosophy and beliefs
Our primary purpose is to be the partner of choice for our clients and help them fulfil their financial objectives by following and implementing our investment beliefs and carrying out our stewardship responsibilities. Within DWS, we manage multiple strategies for our clients to help meet their varied investment objectives. Our aim is to ensure that, to the best extent possible, these strategies are managed according to a common mission and philosophy.
To achieve these goals we incorporate ESG factors into our investment analysis and investment decision processes to the greatest extent possible, based on client interest and their business objectives. This approach helps us to assess the risks and opportunities of specific investments much more comprehensively.
We are convinced that investing responsibly may improve capital allocation and help to stabilise financial markets. It is important to us that besides aligning their investments with their personal values, striving to improve risk-adjusted returns, or to diversify their portfolios, our clients can also achieve a positive environmental or social impact.
Our principles: how we are guided
International standards such as the UN Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations, Cluster Munitions Convention and CERES are our guiding principles for our respective businesses. And we signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2008, agreeing to abide by these.
We want to be proactive in reporting our ESG efforts and developments. As a PRI signatory we report our ESG activities in our annual PRI Transparency Report. Here, we outline our ESG integration approach as well as the developments regarding our overall ESG strategy. We also provide information about DWS’s responsible investment business practices in the annual Deutsche Bank Non-Financial Report. No assurance can be given that investment objectives will be achieved. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. In addition to the formal reporting we also provide details of our ESG activities on our public website. Our annual Governance Engagement Report informs about our engagement activities related to governance-specific issues. This is particularly relevant for our voting results, which we publish to provide transparency to our investors.
The responsibilities of our thematic ESG research and coordination of ESG implementation activities in DWS rest with the Chief Investment Officer for Responsible Investments. The CIO for Responsible Investments is part of the CIO Office and serves the investment platform for liquid and illiquid assets. We also deploy dedicated resources to our internal ESG governance and our thought leadership research, which are underpinned by the Sustainability Office, our ESG Engine and Solutions team, our dedicated Corporate Governance Center and the ESG Thematic Research team. The entire CIO Office for Responsible Investments supports our ESG investment solutions and product offering. Complementing these activities, we also have teams embedded in our business divisions supporting our ESG
activities, which include senior ESG specialists amongst our portfolio managers as well as our dedicated Sustainable Investments team within the Alternatives division. Within this division, we also embed real estate investments in certified green-labelled buildings.
While ESG has varying degrees of relevance in the investment process across our different business lines, we work with all divisions to advance ESG integration in line with client interests, business-specific goals, and tools with the potential to enhance risk-adjusted returns. We are defining and expanding the use of ESG standards and
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for every part of our investment management process. Building upon our ESG database, which we are continuously enhancing, we train our analysts and portfolio managers. We embed this rich ESG dataset into our portfolio management system in order to anchor ESG criteria into their investment processes. We aim to identify and assess material ESG criteria with the potential to impact the value of our investments in order to achieve the best possible risk-adjusted investment returns for our clients. Furthermore, we pursue our ambitious targets to integrate climate change indicators, physical climate risks as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our investment management decisions.
We strive to improve corporate governance across our holdings. Consequently, exercising our voting rights and active involvement in shareholder meetings are therefore key responsibilities for DWS. Our ambition is to implement a sound and stringent corporate governance engagement and proxy voting process across an even greater proportion of our equity assets under management. We also participate actively in AGMs where we explain our voting rationales and raise questions towards management and board.
By appropriately applying our Corporate Governance and Proxy Voting Policy, we intend to continuously improve our monitoring of investee management performance and corporate strategy. We aim to enhance our engagement activities by improving how key ESG issues are raised in portfolio manager meetings with company management. To ensure a clear and transparent policy we also publish our Corporate Governance and Proxy Voting Policy and all votes cast on our websites.
We are guided by local and global multi-stakeholder initiatives. Our memberships include the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), Ceres Investor Network on Sustainability and Climate Risk (INCR / Ceres), Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG) and the UK Sustainable Investment Forum (UKSIF), among others. We are dedicated to finding sustainable investment solutions to address key environmental and social challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity and sustainable supply chains. We believe that our actions here are in the best interests of our current and future clients as well as their families.
As a client-centric asset manager and fiduciary, we are focused on combining our global investment expertise together with our active engagement in local and global ESG initiatives to deliver bespoke investment solutions tailored to our individual clients’ needs. Globally DWS is managing assets across a wide range of sustainable products that cover the entire ESG spectrum from screening strategies, sustainable investment funds6, ESG real estate assets and social finance innovations.
DWS is playing an increasing role in responsible investments. An example of our leadership here can be seen in Deutsche Bank becoming the first commercial bank accredited by the United Nation’s established Green Climate Fund – as initiated
by the DWS Sustainable Investments team.