#SRI — 31.10.2019

From BGL to BGL BNP Paribas - A financially responsible attitude

Following the conference on the subject of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) held by BGL BNP Paribas Private Banking on September 26, 2019, Vincent VILLEBESSEIX, Director of BGL BNP Paribas Private Banking, answered Paperjam's question on this theme.

Vincent Villebesseix

"For our clients, SRI opens the debate to fundamental subjects and aligns investments with their convictions and desire to have a positive impact."

What exactly is meant by Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI)?

The term, coined several decades ago, is fairly broad, and refers to investments that take into account extra-financial factors in addition to traditional financial criteria. More concretely, environment, social and governance (ESG) criteria are systematically incorporated in a traceable manner into a given investment process. It may also involve excluding controversial sectors of activity, or focus on certain specific sectors that are oriented towards sustainable development, such as sustainable water or food management. The idea is not to forego financial returns, but to combine returns with these other criteria.


What is the scope of application of SRI?


The scope is extremely broad as all asset classes can technically be designated as SRI. At present, the offer is broadening, and will continue to do so in the next years. We can even imagine, as more ESG data is collected, an extension to smaller companies, unlisted companies, real estate, etc.


The BNP Paribas group, a banking leader in the eurozone, and BGL BNP Paribas, one of the main banks in Luxembourg, act and invest in this theme. This is what our clients expect from us. Concretely, within the BGL BNP Paribas private bank, we have a very broad financial offer that is fully compatible with clients’ expectations in terms of SRI. Furthermore, we have developed an in-house digital solution in order to help clients define their SRI priorities. The solutions proposed include the funds of our asset management firm BNP Paribas Asset Management as well as the funds of other management companies based on an open architecture principle.



What does this change for the employees of BGL BNP Paribas, and for clients?


A BGL employee is above all a citizen, who is attentive, individually aware and naturally partial to this issue. The prospect of new knowledge and the possibility to acquire skills is also important. For our clients, SRI opens the debate to fundamental subjects and aligns investments with their convictions and desire to have a positive impact.



What are the prospects for development?


There are a multitude of booming prospects, notably here in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which is a financial ecosystem at the forefront of this theme, as illustrated by the numerous initiatives taken by the Luxembourg Stock Exchange regarding this subject. At the level of the European Commission, discussions are underway to continue to define, standardise and professionalise SRI. I am convinced that this investment theme will continue to gain importance over the years to come.