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Bankers Association Introduces Self-Regulations in Sustainable Finance | News | Currently

When providing advice on real estate financing, providers of mortgages must address the issue of long-term value retention and thus also the energy efficiency of the building to be financed with customers. (Image: Shutterstock.com/Sdecoret)

The Bankers Association is introducing new minimum requirements for the consideration of sustainability criteria in investment and mortgage advice as part of self-regulation.

For the first time, the new guidelines of the Bankers Association (SBVg) define binding requirements both for the inclusion of ESG criteria (environmental, social, governance) in investment advice and asset management and for addressing energy efficiency in the context of mortgage advice, as the industry association announced on Tuesday. “In the future, sustainability will be an integral part of the advisory discussions with customers,” says Jörg Gasser, CEO of the SBA.

Investment advice and asset management: The new guidelines for financial service providers on the inclusion of ESG preferences and ESG risks in investment advice and asset management” are legally based on the Financial Services Act (FIDLEG). In future, customers will be asked about their ESG preferences and the products and services offered to them In addition, there are also information, documentation and accountability obligations in connection with the collection of ESG preferences. According to the SBA, the members are also obliged to include ESG topics in the training and further education of their client advisors to integrate.

The new, binding guidelines replace the previous “Guidelines for the inclusion of ESG criteria in the advisory process for private clients”. Based on the new SBA guidelines, Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) is developing specific implementation aids. According to the press release, these will also support financial institutions beyond the banking sector in integrating sustainability aspects into the advice given to private customers.

Real estate financing: The also new “Guidelines for providers of mortgages to promote energy efficiency” stipulate that providers of mortgages address long-term value retention and thus also the energy efficiency of the building to be financed with customers when providing advice on real estate financing. This is intended to sensitize them to the importance of energy-related refurbishments. The focus for the time being is on private customers with single-family homes and holiday homes to be financed. In future, the foreseeable need for renewal of a property will have to be discussed as part of the advice on real estate financing. Customers are also informed about available funding measures for building renovations and referred to independent specialist agencies for specific advice. In addition, the members undertake to provide their customer advisors with regular further training on the topics of long-term value retention and the energy efficiency of real estate.

The self-regulations are binding for members of the SBA. Non-members can join voluntarily. Both self-regulations will come into force on January 1, 2023, with various transitional periods.

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