OP ranks among the top wealth management services providers in Finland. Wealth Management aims to respond to the saving and investing needs of private and corporate customers with a customer-driven approach and to offer the best digital wealth management services and a unique Private Banking experience.
OP provides private customers with an extensive range of savings and investment services. The range of mutual funds covers funds that invest in various asset classes and market areas. Responsibility for the portfolio management of these funds rests partly with OP Financial Group's own investment organisation and partly with its international partners. The product range of life policies consists of pension policies, endowment and unit-linked policies and pure risk policies.
For institutional and corporate customers, OP provides not only discretionary investment management and advisory investment management but also modern risk reporting, portfolio analyses and liquidity management solutions for corporate customers. In 2016, OP expanded its service range for institutional investors by making it possible for them to invest in alternative investments alongside OP’s pension and insurance companies.
OP boasts Finland's largest Private banking network which provides both private individuals and corporate and institutional customers with contractual personalised and comprehensive investment management services. Private banking service involves the range of products and services offered by OP and external partners. The service models include discretionary investment management and advisory investment management.
Moreover, an extensive range of securities brokerage, custody and analysis services is available to private, corporate and institutional customers. OPs award-winning equity analyst team tracks over 80 listed companies, prepares forecasts and recommendations on a company- and sector-specific basis, and produces diverse analysis reports on macroeconomics, stock markets and industries.
As part of its new strategy, OP is modernising Wealth Management by investing in digital service models in particular and developing new types of mobile services. Change in customer behaviour and a switch to digital channels is already witnessed by the fact that 73% of mutual fund subscriptions were performed in digital channels in December 2016. As specified in the strategy, Wealth Management will build completely new digital services. For instance, customers can already easily subscribe for mutual fund units and trade in stocks mobile without a key code list.
As a services provider owned by its customers, OP is tasked with promoting the success and prosperity of its customers. Considering the current low interest rates, making money grow using traditional deposit options is challenging. We therefore encourage our customers to begin investing through various initiatives.
During OP’s Invest in Finland initiative underway at the beginning of the spring 2016, OP stopped charging transaction costs related to Finnish equities listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki and provided free access to equity research. As a result, Finnish public companies attracted over 25,000 new shareholders and trading activity on the Nasdaq Helsinki increased significantly.
The Invest in Finland initiative, which ended in late March, was followed by a reduction in OP's electronic equity trading charges in the spring of 2016. We also provide all our equity investment customers with Finland's most extensive equity research service as part of our overall range of services. At the beginning of June, we stopped permanently charging our owner-customers transaction costs related to mutual funds. Owner-customers can buy, sell and switch the majority of OP funds' units with no transaction costs.
OP aims to talk about investing and asset management with customers in an intelligible way and to lower threshold for investment. During 2016, we arranged, for example, online events and webinars for customers dealing with investment in plain Finnish.
OP aims to be a forerunner in sustainable investment in the sector on a global basis. In spring 2016, we established an environmental, social and governance (ESG) unit for sustainable investing with the purpose of deepening and broadening ESG activity and utilise more ESG information in investment decision-making. OP's responsible investment involves the consideration of sustainability issues in investment decision-making, active ownership, positive and negative screening, the monitoring process of compliance with international standards and engagement. According to the results of the survey conducted annually by Scandinavian Financial Research Ltd (SFR), institutional investors ranked OP Finland’s best asset manager in the field of responsible investment in 2016.
Of the international principles, OP’s investment activities are guided by, for example, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), Global Compact and the OECD Guidelines. In keeping up with international standards, we make use of an independent partner (GES Investment Service) which produces continuous analyses of the fulfilment of international standards by investment vehicles, for use by investors. The partner checks all of OP's asset and fund management companies' investments twice a year in the case of violations. Screening includes direct and active equity and corporate bond investments and all OP mutual funds making the above-mentioned investments, but excludes, for example, index-linked products and mutual funds managed by external portfolio managers.
In accordance with the Group-level responsible investment policies, OP does not actively invest in companies that produce controversial weapons or that continuously violate international standards. As part of climate change prevention efforts, OP has excluded from its active investments high-carbon companies that cannot present a credible plan to reduce their impacts on climate. This approach involves direct investments in mining companies where a significant part of business originates from mining of coal used for energy production, or where the amount of produced coal is large and the company has no plans to change the situation.
The exclusion also applies to certain coal-using energy companies. A list of excluded companies is available on OP’s website. Carbon footprints of OP’s equity and bond funds are also available on the website. We were the first Finnish fund management company to publish carbon footprints in 2015. Furthermore, in accordance with the policies, OP primarily uses other investment solutions than those registered in offshore countries. Any investments in these countries always require a separate risk management procedure.
OP Property Management is also committed to the principles of responsible investment and observes responsible investment principles in its real estate asset management. It manages property investments of the real estate funds it administers and direct property investments made by its customers. In the maintenance of its directly owned properties and in its new investments, the company places an emphasis on energy efficiency, lower consumption and waste management. When it comes to indirect property investments, the company is active in exercising influence on the underlying funds’ and investee companies’ boards of directors and investment committees so that sustainability issues are taken into consideration. OP Property Management is developing sustainable activities in the real estate sector on an ongoing basis. The company has signed a national energy efficiency agreement and is involved in developing CSR reporting in the real estate sector. Moreover, the company has created its own environmental programme aimed at continuing to reduce environmental impacts caused by operations.