Article 6, 8 and 9 funds
Article 6, 8 and 9 funds are the three classifications of investment strategy that will apply to Robeco’s products under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. This new set of rules coming into effect from this year will force asset managers to reveal the differing levels of sustainability integration and focus of each investment strategy that they offer.
The regulation aims to create a more transparent playing field, partly to prevent greenwashing – where some financial firms claim that their products are sustainable when they are not. This bodes well for Robeco’s suite of strategies that have embraced sustainability for decades and can now be appropriately labeled as such.
Under the new classifications, a strategy will labeled under either Article 6, 8 or 9 of the SFDR:
Article 6 covers funds which do not integrate any kind of sustainability into the investment process and could include stocks currently excluded by ESG funds such as tobacco companies or thermal coal producers. While these will be allowed to continue to be sold in the EU, provided they are clearly labelled as non-sustainable, they may face considerable marketing difficulties when matched against more sustainable funds.
Article 8, also known as ‘environmental and socially promoting’, applies “… where a financial product promotes, among other characteristics, environmental or social characteristics, or a combination of those characteristics, provided that the companies in which the investments are made follow good governance practices.”
Article 9, also known as ‘products targeting sustainable investments’, covers products targeting bespoke sustainable investments and applies “… where a financial product has sustainable investment as its objective and an index has been designated as a reference benchmark.”
The vast majority of strategies at Robeco will be classified as Article 8. These are funds which form part of our Sustainability Inside range, which has ESG integrated as standard, or the Sustainability Focused range, which has more specific targets, such as achieving a lower carbon footprint than the benchmark.
Robeco’s Impact Investing range of strategies will be classified as Article 9. These include bespoke funds targeting climate change, renewable energy, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and specific themes such as gender equality. All are labeled as RobecoSAM.
Only a handful of strategies will fall under the Article 6 classification. These are those that cannot realistically include ESG factors, such as those that rely on derivatives, or cash savings accounts.