KUALA LUMPUR: BIMB Investment Management Berhad (BIMB Investment) has taken the lead among investment managers in the region in becoming an official signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

BIMB Investment is the only bank-backed Islamic Asset Manager in Malaysia and Southeast Asia to be a signatory of the responsible investment initiative, together with other 23 leading investment managers in the region.

The objective of the UNPRI group is to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns which ultimately to shape a sustainable future.

Najmuddin Mohd Lutfi, Chief Executive Officer BIMB Investment said:

“We have integrated more than 250 ESG metrics in our investment processes since 2015 for better investment decisions. ESG is the missing link in traditional investment management. ESG offers valuable non-financial information that reflects companies’ management quality which has a strong correlation with sustainable financial performance over time like profitability and stock performance”.

According to Najmuddin, BIMB Investment’s strategic partnership with Arabesque Asset Management Ltd, a UK based global asset manager, allows it to use Arabesque S-Ray™️ ESG screening technology (S-Ray) in its investment process. S-Ray is the first tool of its kind to rate companies on the normative principles of the United Nations Global Compact: Human Rights, Labour Rights, the Environment, and Anti-Corruption. Additionally, S-Ray provides an industry-specific assessment of companies’ performance on financially material sustainability criteria.

“Investors who are keen on sustainable investing, they may choose from our wide-ranging Shariah ESG investment products as minimum as RM500. The investment products are available through all major financial institutions in the country including more than 145 Bank Islam branches nationwide, online portal of Fundsupermart and BIMB Investment consultants,” added Najmuddin.

“We also hope our contributions in the Shariah-ESG asset management will complement Malaysia as the world’s leading Islamic Finance market place, an initiative of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) and in support of the Securities Commission Malaysia’s Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) initiatives” added Najmuddin

PRI CEO Fiona Reynolds said: “We are very pleased to welcome BIMB Investment Management Berhad to as a signatory to the PRI. In making this commitment, BIMB is demonstrating a clear commitment to incorporate Environmental, Social and Governance factors into its investing. We look forward to working with BIMB.”

In June 2019, BIMB Investment was named the ESG Asset Manager of the Year 2019 by The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Awards, a recognition of its significant contributions and achievements in ESG, sustainability and asset management in Asia.

BIMB Investment currently manages over RM 1 billion of ESG assets. Its Global Shariah ESG Equity Fund is Malaysia’s largest Global ESG equity fund with a fund size of more than RM930 million and the best performing fund in its class for 3 years with a total return of about 30%. The company has launched the world’s first ESG Global Sukuk Fund last year, completing its suite of ESG funds to individual and corporate investors.