Aegon invests more than €800 billion (December 2018) on behalf of our customers, offering the best possible long-term returns, consistent with their individual risk profiles and requirements.
Balancing returns and social benefits
Aegon believes in active, responsible and engaged investment. We believe Responsible Investment helps to pinpoint risk, and may improve returns over the longer term. For us, Responsible Investment is about making sure we take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into account when we invest. It's also about targeting some of our investments in areas we know will bring definite social or environmental benefits, as well as financial returns.
Sustainability in the investment processes
We believe that by taking ESG factors into account in our investment research and decision-making, we can enhance investment performance for all our clients. As responsible investors, our portfolio managers and analysts seek to identify where ESG risks may impact our investments. It is about pinpointing issues that are material to our investments and material to our clients in a context of growing awareness of sustainability issues.
We ensure that portfolio managers and analysts at Aegon Asset Management are well-positioned to consider ESG in their investment work, by providing them with training and the best available ESG data and research, and by ensuring that they have easy access to this data, for example by incorporating this into the tear-sheets.
Aegon Asset Management publishes an annual Responsible Investment Report outlining its policies and activities on ESG issues and how it addresses key sustainability challenges globally.
The report shows our commitment to supporting sustainable finance – not only ensuring that we take a responsible approach when making investments, but also that we target investments that bring clear social and environmental benefits.
Investing for future generations
Discover how responsible investment is embedded in Aegon's business
The scale of the looming problem of climate change is immense, and so is the need for funding innovative solutions to help transition to a low carbon economy. At Aegon Asset Management we are working on several levels to assess the risks and opportunities that such a transition is expected to bring, and we are closely cooperating with other investors and stakeholders on global initiatives to tackle the climate change issue together.
Learn more about the progress we've made in Aegon Asset Management's 2018 Responsible Investment Report.
Responsible products and investments
Aegon had nearly EUR 8.4 billion of impact investments in areas such as affordable housing and renewable energy at the end of 2018.
We also offer specific financial products for vulnerable groups and socially-responsible investment funds (SRI).
In several countries, we sell products for customers on low incomes – for example: our 'My Family' micro-insurance product in Brazil and low-cost life insurance in Romania. We also provide support to those facing chronic illness. In China, our critical illness coverage offers protection against both diabetes and cancer; we also have products that help customers suffering from cervical and breast cancer.
In addition to our products, we also support a number of financial education programs – in many countries, people are taking more personal responsibility for their finances. In the Netherlands, for example, we pay for budget coaches to help customers in financial difficulty. In the US, we work closely with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. We also offer lessons, online seminars and clinics for members of the public.
Specific fund products1
For our customers in the UK, the Netherlands and Hungary, we have specific Socially-responsible investment (SRI) fund products. At the end of 2018, these funds had EUR 3.4 billion under management, almost 80% more than they had five years before – thanks primarily to growing demand among retail investors for a more ethical approach to investment.
1 In addition to our funds in the UK, Netherlands and Hungary, we also have separate sustainability funds in China. At the end of 2018, these funds had another €0.7 billion under management.
Partnering for positive dialogue
As an active owner, Aegon Asset Management aims to support the long-term success of companies in which we invest. We believe it is in our clients' best interests that we monitor companies' ESG performance and activities, vote on the shares that we manage and engage companies on issues like strategy, risk and corporate governance. These are powerful tools with which we can positively impact companies and are working in collaboration with other global asset managers help accelerate change.