GES Newsletter
March 30, 2009

GES Investment Services has on the 30th of March been certified against the new European Voluntary Quality Standard (VQS) for corporate sustainability and responsible investment research. The Standard has been specifically developed to promote quality in research routines within the companies that provide responsible investment research and ratings on companies.

“The tables have been turned. Eyes are not only on investors and companies where transparency and accountability is concerned, but also on responsible investment research providers, which is why results should be made comparable. The VQS is our industry equivalent of the ISO 9001 and it will add further credibility and strength to our line of business. We welcome the Standard and hope others will follow our example”, says Helene Regnell, Vice President Sales & Marketing.

“We welcome the fact that our advisers GES Investment Services, which provides us with the monitoring and analysis on company violations of international conventions now has chosen to take the plunge and let certify themselves. It vouches for continued quality, and that the Swedish National Pension Funds via the Ethical Council can continue to conduct constructive dialogues in a responsible and professional manner, as engagement via dialogue is a prerequisite in making sure that companies that violate conventions operate in a more responsible way”, says Christina Kusoffsky Hillesöy, President of the Ethical Council.

“KLP has 550.000 pension beneficiaries in Norway. We owe it to our clients to work professionally in all areas, which include how we handle Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. An advisor on ESG issues has to demonstrate professionalism and quality in everything that they do. GES Investment Services has undertaken the Voluntary Quality Certification of the industry, which is to us assurance that they will continue to deliver the quality work we have come to expect”, says Jeanett Bergan, Head of Responsible Investments with KLP.

The Standard has been launched by the Association of Independent Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Research (AI CSRR) in direct response to growing investor and company demand for research groups to incorporate the key principles of integrity, transparency, accountability into their research when assessing the environmental, social, governance (ESG) performance of companies.

GES Investment Services received the certification after having had its processes in the GES Global Ethical Standard and GES Risk Rating audited by an independent auditor. The audit report was reviewed and approved by a Certification Council. The VQS assessment and auditing process required GES to focus on a number of issues, such as continuous quality improvements and establish quality control systems across all research areas and develop and implement best practice and codes of conduct to ensure independence, integrity, probity, transparency and accountability in the research process.

GES Investment Services’ Independence policy, Liability policy and Code of Conduct are a direct result of the VQS process and have been published on the corporate website