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KBC Bank launches Socially Responsible Investment Funds in Ireland

25 April 2019

KBC Bank, Ireland’s digital-first bank, has today announced the launch of two new socially responsible investment funds designed to offer more investment opportunities to socially conscious consumers in Ireland.

The new funds are Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) versions of KBC’s Asset Management’s flagship funds and are designed to balance environmental and social good in a way that brings about positive change, while also delivering a financial return to investors.

A pioneer in this space, KBC Group has been offering a wide range of sustainable funds for over 20 years, launching their first SRI fund in 1992. Internationally, KBC now has 110 different SRI funds, totalling €8 billion assets under management. KBC has developed a state-of-the-art SRI model, incorporating a dedicated SRI board, who advise on and review the Group’s entire portfolio of investment funds on a regular basis, publishing the findings each quarter to guarantee transparency. This independent board and its role in auditing KBC’s SRI credentials is a key cornerstone of KBC’s approach in offering sustainable investment options.

Using the UN Global Compact principles as a guide, the SRI analysts screen potential companies in order to identify and exclude activities, companies and regimes that fall short of KBC’s SRI standards. The board also tracks individual principles within those companies to assess performance and specific targets in relation to sustainability, climate change and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Commenting on the announcement, Fergal O'Riagain, Director of Products at KBC Bank Ireland said, “SRI as an investment tool is a relatively new concept in Ireland, but at KBC we want to change that. Typically, investors don’t always know how their money is being used and there is often a lack of transparency in terms of how companies operate, particularly on a global level. Our approach to SRI aims to change this by providing peace of mind and offering more choice to the socially conscious consumer."

Following a successful launch in Belgium last year by KBC Group, the SRI investment funds are now available to consumers in the Irish market for the first time. The funds are SRI versions of two of KBC’s Asset Management’s flagship funds available under the SIVEK Global banner – SIVEK SRI Low for defensive investors and SIVEK SRI Medium for dynamic investors. Both funds use best-in-class methodologies to ensure all investments work positively for the consumer, at no cost to potential returns.

Following a thorough screening process, our board decides what companies and countries to invest in, and comprehensive audits ensure that consumers are investing in companies that are doing specific good. This eliminates the typically ‘unknown’ element of investing and our clients are assured that their money is working hard for them while also making a positive impact on society,he added.

Globally, SRI has become an increasingly popular investment tool with the amount of SRI funds under management more than doubling in the five years from 2012 to 2017. Following the launch of the SIVEK SRI funds in Ireland, KBC Bank plans to expand on its sustainable investment offering in the Irish market with the introduction of additional SRI funds in the coming months. KBC’s SIVEK SRI Low and SIVEK SRI Medium investment funds are available to investors in Ireland from today.

For more information on KBC’s SIVEK SRI funds, visit one of KBC’s hubs across the country to speak to an investment specialist, or visit www.kbc.ie