Not one or two. There are many large managers that are lowering the ‘note’ of their sustainable funds in recent weeks. This Friday, according to Bloomberg, Pictet has been the one that has reclassified four of its thematic funds from article 9 -the highest grade in sustainability-, to article 8, which follows less strict criteria, in accordance with the European Disclosure Regulation. In total, these reorganizations, largely motivated by regulatory adjustments, already exceed 140,000 million dollars and do not help to stop the shadow of greenwashing from persecuting the sector, although the appetite for these products persists.
The highest volume of ‘downgrades’ is accumulated by Amundi. The financial agency estimates the volume of assets under management that would have been affected at 46,000 million dollars; a figure significantly higher than that of the second manager that would have been forced to lower the degree of sustainability of some of its products, such as BlackRock, although the figure for the relocated product reaches 20,000 million dollars.
In the case of Pictet AM, the volume of assets is lower, but would reach 14,000 million dollars. In addition, the Swiss manager was one of those that led the classification of dark green funds Disclosure in 2021.
This rule, which has been in force since March of last year and which affects the entire asset management industry, required investment products to be classified according to how they would promote sustainability objectives. The products that follow this degree of sustainability will remain integrated within articles 9 (maximum) and 8 (following), according to the Regulation. However, subsequent regulatory adjustments -some came into force on January 1- have forced managers to review the classifications; with the consequent reputational effects.
Because along with Amundi, BlackRock or Pictet, other large managers such as Axa (21,000 million in reclassifications), BNP Paribas (16,000 million), Goldman (7,000 million), Pimco (6,000), Deka (3,000 million) or DWS (2,000 million in downgrades) would have been forced to downgrade their ESG funds.