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Responsible investment: an element of portfolio optimization

Sustainable investment at Metzler: An element of portfolio optimization

ESG stands for "Environment, Social and Governance". When implementing these sustainability aspects, we at Metzler Asset Management GmbH take exclusion criteria, ESG integration, dialogues, proxy voting rights and ESG controlling and reporting into consideration.

In addition to purely financial criteria, Metzler Asset Management GmbH's investment process also takes into account  how companies handle ecological, social and corporate governance aspects. A broader data basis is intended to improve targeted selection of securities and thus the risk/return profile of the portfolios (not guaranteed or warranted).


For all of Metzler Asset Management GmbH’s equity, corporate bond and multi-asset funds, exclusion criteria are applied based on 120 international norms and conventions. The data stems mostly from MSCI ESG Research. In case of an infringement of one of these standards, we exclude the company from our investment universe. In MSCI ESG Research's controversy scheme, this corresponds to a "red flag".

At the client's request, we include additional criteria in the investment process, for example based on data from ISS-ESG.

ESG integration aims to improve the risk/return profile of funds by incorporating key sustainability aspects into traditional investment analysis. For example, we quantify in economic terms  how the following aspects affect business success:

  • ESG scores from MSCI ESG Research
  • Sector-specific key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • ESG aspects of corporate business models

Metzler Asset Management GmbH has entered an agreement with Columbia Threadneedle Investments to handle dialogue and voting rights. Columbia Threadneedle Investments and the portfolio managers at Metzler address business-relevant ESG challenges in their discussions with companies. Columbia Threadneedle Investments also exercises proxy voting rights. Columbia Threadneedle Investments prepares reports on these activities and the milestones achieved, some of which we incorporate into ESG reporting for our clients.

We continuously improve ESG integration by means of ESG controlling. In addition, Metzler Asset Management has been offering comprehensive ESG reporting since January 2018 based on the most important key indicators (KPIs) and broader sustainability approaches, greenhouse gas emissions, the most serious breaches of international norms and conventions, as well as dialogues and proxy voting activity.

ESG reporting on Metzler Asset Management's mutual funds can be found under Fund Prices & Documents.

Sustainability has played an important role at Metzler Asset Management for more than 20 years. Since 2016, we have been fully integrating ESG aspects for all fundamental and discretionary funds in order to further enhance the risk-return profile of the funds (not guaranteed or warranted). Due to classification according to Article 8 of the EU Disclosure Regulation, investors can rest assured that sustainability risks are sufficiently taken into account as part of portfolio and risk management. This also enables forward-looking investing based on investment strategies that are already geared towards the ESG target market and in line with MiFID II.

In order to make this visible to the outside world, numerous Metzler funds now bear the term "sustainability" in their names.

The sustainability aspects integrated in these funds refer to the so-called ESG factors: environmental, social and governance. The securities and investment shares held by these funds must be selected in accordance with the principles of sustainability and are classified based on the sustainability criteria defined by the company. Analyses, assessments, data and/or other information from external service providers can be taken into account.

Depending on this classification, certain issuers are included in the fund's investment universe – or excluded from it if there have been violations of the sustainability principles. The data sources currently used are research results from MSCI ESG Research and/or our own assessments.

ESG integration and exclusion criteria for companies

As part of a holistic ESG approach, sustainability aspects are taken into consideration in an ESG integration process in order to reduce company-specific risks (e.g. reputational risks) and identify opportunities (e.g. from climate change). Investments are made only in companies that are considered sustainable according to a specified filter.

Investments in certain securities are excluded if they

  • violate one of over 100 internationally recognized standards. These include in particular the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights.
  • originate from companies that engage in controversial business areas beyond the defined threshold, e.g.:
    • companies that generate more than 5% of sales with electricity from thermal coal;
    • companies that generate more than 5% of sales via thermal coal or uranium mining;
    • companies that operate nuclear power plants or generate more than 5% of sales by manufacturing essential components for nuclear power plants;
    • companies that generate more than 5% of sales by producing crude oil and natural gas using non-conventional methods (fracking, oil sands);
    • companies that generate more than 5% of sales by producing and trading military equipment;
    • companies that generate more than 5% of sales with end products like cigarettes or cigars.

Ecological and social factors as well as aspects of good corporate governance

The ESG integration process systematically takes several environmental and social indicators into account – in addition to the information used to assess corporate governance. These indicators include, for example, compliance with the principles of the UN Global Compact, the responsible use of labor, sales generated using climate-friendly technologies, and the structure and quality of the company’s Supervisory Board. In addition, there is regular active dialog with companies on environmental and social topics.

Consideration of all these criteria allows us to select issuers with good management of environmental and social topics and with business models that can be classified as sustainable in the long term and in line with the aforementioned ESG criteria. ESG reports with transparent information on environmental and social portfolio indicators are available for all sustainability mutual funds and can be found at under the heading "Fund Prices & Documents". These reports also include a comparison with a reference index and show the development of the respective portfolio over time.

ESG integration and exclusion criteria for countries

As part of a holistic ESG approach, sustainability aspects are taken into consideration in order to reduce risks and identify opportunities. Investments are made only in countries that are considered sustainable according to specified criteria. Criteria for exclusion include:

a) Management of ESG risk factors based on ESG ratings for countries

b) Access to political rights and civil liberties

c) Extent of corruption

d) Peace status

e) Frequency of money laundering cases.

Information on the methods for assessing, measuring and monitoring environmental and social aspects, on the impact of sustainable investments, on the data sources and criteria for assessment, and on sustainability indicators for measuring environmental and social aspects can be found in the ESG Policy of Metzler Asset Management GmbH.

Milestones in ESG: Metzler Asset Management over 20 years of experience

QbrickS: Integrating sustainability into your portfolio

ESG-Integration with QbrickS

For 20 years, our asset management approach has been implementing sustainability aspects into individual portfolios on a modular basis. We have now enhanced this approach further in line with changing conditions.

With QbrickS, we offer our clients a integrated concept that includes tailor-made advisory services, customized implementation and comprehensive reporting. We meet our clients’ most diverse requirements – whether shaped by certain values, economic parameters or regulatory restrictions.

ESG reporting enhances portfolio transparency

Das Metzler-Reporting bietet eine hohe Flexibilität beim Erstellen maßgeschneiderten Reportings und verspricht gleichzeitig einen hohen Qualitätsanspruch an das Reportingergebnis.

More and more institutional investors are looking for sustainable investment solutions, and at the same time, legal regulations are becoming more comprehensive (e.g. CSR Directive, EbAV II). This increases the need for and demands on ESG reporting for capital investments.

In January of 2018, Metzler Asset Management began offering reporting that meets these requirements and includes key sustainability aspects. ESG evaluations are prepared for a variety of asset classes including equities, corporate bonds and government bonds, i.e.  for all of Metzler Asset Management's actively managed mutual funds, but also for special funds upon client request, and at Master KVG level.

ESG reports are updated monthly and provide investors with the desired transparency as to the sustainability of their investments:

  • Evaluations based on significant ESG risks and opportunities (e.g. from MSCI ESG Research)
  • Evaluations based on broad ESG assessments (e.g. from ISS-ESG)
  • Analysis of a portfolio's carbon footprint 
  • Analysis of controversies at the various ESG data providers
  • Evaltation engagement (company dialogues and voting)

ESG reporting on Metzler Asset Management's mutual funds can be found under Fund Prices & Documents.

Associations and cooperations

Metzler Asset Management GmbH is an active member of various associations in the area of sustainability. In connection with several cooperation agreements and initiatives, we also engage in regular exchange on topics relating to sustainable investments. Learn more about our commitments and memberships below.

  • Bundesverband Investment und Asset Management (BVI): The team at Metzler Asset Management GmbH exchanges views on ESG issues regularly with other members of the Bundesverband's ESG working group. This includes integrating the guidelines on responsible investing into the BVI's rules of conduct.
  • CRIC e. V.: Metzler Asset Management GmbH has been a full member of CRIC e.V. since August 1, 2018. The association's main areas of activity include engagement, research and awareness raising for sustainable investments in society, politics and business.
  • Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlage (FNG): Metzler Asset Management GmbH has been a member of the FNG since 2002. The aim is to raise awareness of sustainable investment solutions and thereby trigger a positive steering effect for investments.
  • Columbia Threadneedle Investments: Metzler Asset Management GmbH has been working with Columbia Threadneedle Investments (until July 3, 2022 BMO Global Asset Management) since 2014 on the topic of "Dialogues and voting rights".
  • ISS ESG: Metzler Asset Management GmbH has been working with ISS-ESG since 1999 for client-specific ethical or sustainable exclusion criteria and/or "best in class" approaches for managing special funds.
  • MSCI ESG Research: Since 2016, Metzler Asset Management GmbH has been obtaining data for ESG integration and for analyzing "very severe controversies" primarily from MSCI ESG Research.
  • Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative: In November 2021, Metzler Asset Management GmbH joined the international initiative, which aims to commit the asset management industry to a more active role in the fight against climate change. It is managed by the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) and five other founding partner investor networks.
  • Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI): In 2012, Metzler Asset Management GmbH was one of the first German asset managers to sign the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which were established in 2005 on the initiative of the United Nations as a voluntary commitment by the signatories. 


Your contacts in the Sustainable Investment Office

Metzler Asset Management GmbH concentrates its sustainability activities in the Sustainable Investment Office (SIO) under the management of Daniel Sailer with the aim of efficiently implementing and further developing its ESG strategy. Expert know-how in ESG research, asset management, ESG reporting and for tailor-made advisory services is bundled in the SIO. 

You can reach the SIO by e-mail at or follow us on social media at #MetzlerESG.

Daniel Sailer
Daniel Sailer

Head of Sustainable Investment Office

Dr. Philipp Finter
Dr. Philipp Finter

ESG integration

Philipp Linke
Philipp Linke

ESG reporting

Important note

You will be forwarded to the Landingpage of Asset Management.

You will be forwarded to the Landingpage of Asset Management.

You will be forwarded to the Landingpage of Asset Management.


Conditions of Use and Legal Notes

Promotional material published by Metzler Asset Management GmbH

This document published by Metzler Asset Management GmbH [together with its affiliated companies as defined in section 15 et seq. of the German Public Limited Companies Act (Aktiengesetz – "AktG"), jointly referred to hereinafter as "Metzler"] contains information obtained from public sources which Metzler deems to be reliable. However, Metzler cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information. Metzler reserves the right to make changes to the opinions, projections, estimates and forecasts provided in this document without notice and shall have no obligation to update this document or inform the recipient in any other way if any of the statements contained herein should be altered or prove incorrect, incomplete or misleading.

The information contained in this document is not tailored to the specific investment objectives, financial situations or needs of individual recipients. Before acting on the basis of the information or recommendations contained in this document, the recipient should consider whether the decision is suitable for his or her personal circumstances and, if in doubt, seek the advice of a qualified professional.

Past performance cannot be regarded as an indicator of future performance. It cannot be guaranteed that a portfolio will repeat its past performance in the future. Any gains generated by investments are subject to fluctuations; the price or value of any financial instrument described in this document may rise or fall. Moreover, the actual performance of a portfolio depends on its asset volume as well as on the agreed fee structure and external expenses.

The model calculations contained in this document, if any, are examples showing the possible performance and are based on various assumptions (e.g. regarding earnings and volatility). Actual performance may be higher or lower, depending on market developments.

Metzler cannot guarantee that a portfolio will maintain a certain minimal value or that a specific target return will be achieved. Consequently, none of the capital preservation strategies mentioned in this document, if any, can offer full asset protection.

In particular, it cannot be guaranteed that ESG investments will actually increase returns and/or reduce portfolio risk. Similarly, no civil liability of Metzler can be derived from the goal of "responsible investing" (as defined by the BVI Rules of Conduct). Information on sustainability at Metzler Asset Management can be found here:

This document is non-binding and does not constitute an offer or any part of an offer to buy or sell financial instruments. Only the sales prospectuses, basic information sheets (PRIIPs) and annual and half-yearly financial statements valid at the time of purchase are binding for purchasing mutual funds. These and other mandatory documents, including the fund ́s complaint resolution  2 process, are available for download at and

In the case of fund products, investors have the right to file a complaint in a model case proceeding as per sec. 606 German Code of Civil Procedure or to initiate an ombudsman proceeding at the German Investment Funds Association (BVI). The German Capital Investor Model Proceedings Act (KapMuG) applies.

It may be decided at any time to terminate the cross-border distribution arrangements. In such circumstances, investors will be informed of this decision and will be provided with the opportunity to redeem their units.

Universal-Investment Ireland Fund Management Limited (UII) in Dublin is responsible for managing Irish UCITS funds. UII did not partake in the preparation of this document and thus takes no responsibility for its content, subject to all applicable law and regulatory requirements.

This document is provided solely for information purposes and may not be modified, copied, reproduced or distributed without Metzler‘s prior written consent.

The following applies in connection with references to indices, ratings or indicators:

Key fund figures and ratings (henceforth referred to as "information") provided by MSCI ESG Research LLC (MSCI ESG) contain environmental, social and governance data pertaining to the underlying securities in more than 31,000 multi-asset class mutual funds and ETFs worldwide. MSCI ESG is a registered investment adviser under the US Investment Advisers Act of 1940. None of the information provided by MSCI ESG has been filed with or approved by the US SEC or any other regulatory authority. It does not constitute an offer to buy or sell or represent a solicitation or recommendation of any security, financial instrument, financial product or trading strategy, nor should it be considered an indication or guarantee of future performance, analysis, forecast or prediction. None of the information provided shall be used to determine which securities to buy or sell or when to buy or sell them. The information is provided "as is" and the user of the information assumes all risk associated with the use of or permission to use said information.