Roger Hartmann is a member of the supervisory boards of Sqope SA, the leading AML reputation firm, and of Label R, the unique global ESG certification for funds investing in sensitive zones. As Chairman of the Private Banking Group at ICMA, Roger has been at the forefront of the fight for tax compliance.
In this exclusive interview, Roger explains what has inspired him to be one of the speakers at the inaugural SGG Crossroads conference and the importance of the financial industry of having a strong compliance framework.
1. What attracted you to become part of SGG Crossroads conference?
SGG Crossroads is all about promoting Sustainability in the financial industry. In this sense, I have been a strong believer for quite some time in the positive contribution that the financial industry can bring to a more fair and ethical society. This platform is therefore very relevant to me.
2. What is your view of the efforts made by the funds industry to date to incorporate sustainability into their processes and practices?
The intermediary role of the financial industry in promoting best practices is very important. We can channel leadership in bringing new positive ideas to the table. It is important in this sense to go beyond the “green washing”, and to really prove to potential and existing investors that Investment Funds comply with strict ESG standards and policies. With the help of the Investment Fund cluster, which acts as a gatekeeper, and with specialised firms like Label R and Sqope, Funds can definitely demonstrate that they comply with all ESG guidelines.
3. How can the funds industry be persuaded to think more about sustainability and not only profit?
If the environment is changing, the human being will change too. We are today aware that too many investment flows bring more profit, but they are also putting the environment under pressure. This is why a change of perspective, a change in our way of looking at things, is necessary. It is already happening for institutional investors, be they Sovereign Wealth Funds or Family Offices. They are putting a lot of pressure on fund managers to make sure that Sustainability is an important component when they have to take investment decisions.
4. You are involved in Sqope, a leading provider of advanced Due Diligence Reports. What is the importance of compliance in today’s financial world?
Sqope supports the financial industry, banks, external asset managers, investment funds, administrators, in complying with ethical principles and regulations, preventing money laundering, anti-corruption and terrorism financing. Those professionals are now convinced that they cannot afford to risk their reputations and to befined heavily and, therefore, invest heavily in making sure they stay compliant. You need 20 years to build a robust reputation and a couple of minutes to destroy it. The financial industry needs solutions to deal with the on-boarding of clients and investors and they need also enhanced reputation checks when they invest in a target.