The Association Française de la Gestion financière (AFG, or French Asset Management Association) represents and defends the interests of third-party management professionals. Founded in 1961, it brings together the various players of the asset management industry, whether mandated individual asset managers or collective asset managers via Undertakings for Collective Investment (UCIs). Its 370 members are entrepreneurs, portfolio management companies, or subsidiaries of banking or insurance groups, both French and international. French asset management amounts to more than €4 trillion under management, fully a quarter of continental Europe's asset management market.
Responsible management consists of taking into consideration environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria at the level of asset management companies. Responsible management may involve applying a responsible investment policy at the level of the management company or take the form of participation in broader professional initiatives.
To encourage portfolio management companies to adopt a "coal strategy," the AFG published a guide in February 2020 that identifies best practices for reducing investments' exposure to coal, thereby contributing to the goal set by the national carbon neutrality strategy: to cease financing the coal sector.
The AFG conducted an ad hoc survey among its members in July 2020 on divestment from coal. A total of 64 portfolio management companies responded, representing the bulk of assets under management in France.
Transition to a low-carbon economy
Asset management companies participate in the financing the low-carbon transition, for example through investments in Green Bonds or in listed or unlisted companies that contribute to the low-carbon transition.
With implementation of the new Taxonomy Rules, the definition of what constitutes green investments may aligned with the criteria of the European Taxonomy.
Supplying responsible products
Asset management has broadly turned its attention to providing responsible product offerings. With respect to this topic, the AFG publishes annual statistics on assets under management in France. Responsible investment includes SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) funds and funds employing other ESG approaches.
"SRI is an investment that aims to reconcile economic performance with social and environmental impact by financing companies and public entities that contribute to sustainable development regardless of their sector of activity. By influencing governance and the behaviour of actors, SRI promotes a responsible economy," AFG-FIR definition, 2013.