At Lynx, we strive to be a responsible investor which we define as an investor who supports the development of sustainable financial markets and the long-term health and stability of the market as a whole. We believe that a responsible investor acknowledges the importance of continuous learning and development in the area of sustainability and responsible investment.
Lynx Asset Management has adopted a firm-wide policy that outlines how we apply sustainability principles at a firm level and in our investment process and how we promote responsible investment throughout the industry. The Policy is reviewed annually and is adopted by the Lynx Board of Directors.
In order to achieve high risk-adjusted returns, Lynx is dependent upon the health and the efficient functioning of the financial markets, as well as of the society in a wider perspective.
Lynx manages quantitative strategies using a fully systematic investment process. Investments are made in futures contracts on equity indices, fixed income, commodities and currencies, and in currency forwards. Lynx has a conservative market selection approach with a focus on the most liquid markets in order to minimize market impact and not disrupt or materially affect market prices. We aim to ensure that our positions and trade volumes are small in relation to the daily volumes in those respective markets and we have a dedicated team of researchers responsible for the algorithms used in our trading process. This team gathers data on each order, focusing on market liquidity and trade volumes, and reports to the Investment Committee with their findings.
The investment styles adopted, and the derivatives traded in the form of futures and forwards, do not involve discretionary fundamental analysis or security selection of single stocks or corporate bonds. Further, the instruments traded do not entail any legal ownership of the underlying assets and as such no voting rights can be exercised that would enable Lynx to be an active owner with influence on any company or other entity. With that said, the Lynx program is screened quarterly by the independent Brummer & Partners’ Risk and Sustainability teams. These teams collaborate with the an external expert to identify direct holdings in companies involved in certain controversial activities linked to established ESG standards, such as the UN Global Compact framework and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The screening process also covers companies directly involved in coal, or the development, production, maintenance or sale of weapons that are illegal or deemed particularly controversial because of the disproportionate harm they may cause. As expected, the derivative instruments traded by the Lynx strategies render this type of screening service to be less relevant.
Sustainability Risk Policy
Lynx has a policy which outlines how sustainability risks are integrated into its investment decision-making process and how environmental, social or governance (“ESG”) events, if they occur, can cause an actual or potential material negative impact on the value of an investment in a fund. Our strategies do not have sustainable investment as a primary objective, however, Lynx´s approach to ESG integration is guided by a set of overarching principles and beliefs. Over the past years, the firm has increased its focus on sustainability and ESG risks. We consider a sustainable global financial system as being necessary for long-term value creation.
Sustainability risk factors are considered as part of the broader investment process, meaning that any ESG related risk in traded instruments is assessed vis-à-vis other risks and investment considerations. This approach ensures that the portfolio management teams at Lynx are aware of and take informed investment decisions with knowledge of key ESG related risks that ultimately might have an impact on an investment´s risk and/or return.
Sustainability risks (including those identified below) are also implicitly integrated into the proprietary models and portfolio construction as volatility in prices are captured by Lynx´s short, medium, and long-term systematic models. Furthermore, the quantitative models employed in our strategies are neutral to being long or short in an instrument (where shorting is allowed), over time thus contributing to liquidity in the market and diminishing extreme price swings from supply/demand imbalances. ESG factors are also carefully assessed in the investment process when selecting new instruments to trade.
Lynx has primarily identified three key sustainability risks that may have a material negative impact on the value of an investment / underlying assets to which a fund may be exposed:
- Physical risk: Changes brought about by climate change could include heatwaves, severe flooding or droughts, as well as long-term shifts in growing seasons or precipitation patterns. These present direct, real-world risks which subsequently could impact financial markets and derivatives. This is particularly true for agricultural commodities that have long been exposed to weather-related risks, and for energy market infrastructure or the transportation of any commodity that is vulnerable to disruption from hurricanes and other extreme weather.
- Transition risk: The global transition away from reliance on fossil fuels or legacy commodities that are produced unsustainably presents a host of challenges. Specifically, migrating futures market liquidity from one contract to another cannot be done overnight. Market participants need time to unwind their existing positions and bring new contracts into their trading and clearing systems. Transition periods managed ineffectively may result in a lack of real price discovery and increased price volatility for end-users and throughout the real economy.
- Operational risk: Sustainability risks can result in operational risks in derivatives markets. As the global pandemic of 2020 illustrates, disruptions to how our markets function can come in unexpected ways. As an example, our strategies had to deal with temporary short-selling bans on some European equity markets that were imposed as a result of the dramatic downshift in the global economy that the Covid-19 pandemic caused. Likewise, in April 2020, abundant supply and declining demand resulted in a historic collapse in the price of WTI crude.
Lynx ultimately believes that ESG factors can potentially have a material impact on long-term financial performance. Poorly managed ESG risks can lead to inefficiencies, operational disruption and reputational risk, which may ultimately impact our ability to manage the strategies. The impacts following the occurrence of a sustainability risk may be numerous and vary depending on the specific risk. To the extent that a sustainability event occurs, there may be a sudden, material negative impact on the value of an investment, and hence the Net Asset Value of a fund.
Principal Adverse Impact Statement, "PAIs"
Lynx does not currently consider the principal adverse impacts of investment decisions on sustainability factors. Lynx deems the guidance on how the new regulatory framework (Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on sustainability‐related disclosures in the financial services sector) applies to our type of strategies to be insufficient and it is our assessment that the instruments traded do not have any material adverse impacts.
Lynx invests mainly in equity indices, bonds, currencies and commodities through exchange traded futures across global markets and in over-the-counter foreign exchange forwards. Trading in derivatives poses significant challenges in assessing and measuring adverse impacts as we are not the legal owners of the underlying assets. Neither can we engage with companies on sustainability-related matters as we never receive voting rights through our investments. Furthermore, participating in certain macro markets (e.g. commodities, currencies) does not necessarily lead to a position which conflicts with underlying ESG factors, especially if a manager has the ability to take both long and short positions. As a firm we have the ambition to report impacts when guidance on the handling of derivatives and long vs short positions becomes available.
Information on the EU taxonomy for sustainability-related businesses
The EU-taxonomy is a classification system that aims to establish common criteria for sustainable economic activities. The Funds’ investments do not take the EU criteria for environmentally sustainable economic activities into account, as are set out in Regulation (EU) No 2020/852, also known as the Taxonomy Regulation.
Extract from Remuneration Policy regarding sustainability integration
The company’s remuneration policy seeks to ensure that the remuneration (fixed and variable) paid to employees promotes effective risk management while not encouraging excessive risk-taking. To be able to ensure this, the policy contains guidelines on how the company seeks to identify, measure, govern, internally report and control the risks associated with remuneration systems in our business.
It is of importance to Lynx that the employees integrate ESG-thinking into applicable parts of the investment process. Employees are encouraged to seek new and better ways to improve work with sustainability risks and adverse impacts in the investment process. Employees are also encouraged to pursue new and improved ways to create ESG-friendly products and services.
Employee efforts that lead to either the identification of new sustainability risks or the company being able to mitigate adverse sustainability impact, are endorsed by the company. Such efforts (among others) are to be taken into consideration when variable remuneration is being considered. By linking ESG issues to remuneration the company hopes to achieve financial impact on employees whose compensation is linked with ESG measures, driving better ESG performance.
Where our interests and approaches are aligned, Lynx engages with other market participants to apply the concept of responsible investments and to improve standards for the industry.
The UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI)
Lynx has been listed as a UN PRI signatory since 2016. The PRI is a member-led initiative aimed at promoting responsible investment across the investment industry and it encourages investors to use responsible investments to enhance returns and better manage risks. Its six principles are voluntary and aspirational, offering a menu of possible actions and providing direction for responsible investment efforts.
The Standards Board for Alternative Investments (SBAI)
Lynx is a signatory of the SBAI, formerly known as the Hedge Fund Standards Board. The SBAI is an initiative that is aimed at creating and promoting standards of good governance, transparency, valuation, risk management and shareholders conduct for the alternatives industry.
Sweden´s Forum for Sustainable Investment, Swesif, is an independent association that has its purpose in sustainable investment and its mandate in the breadth and representativeness of its members. Swesif has launched an ESG profile, Hållbarhetsprofilen, a standardized information leaflet for funds. Its purpose is to provide clear and easy access to information on how a fund applies various sustainability criteria in its fund management.
Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF)
SSF is a Swiss association aiming to strengthen the country´s position in the global marketplace for sustainable finance. In 2018, SSF coordinated an initiative for an Open letter to global index providers to exclude controversial weapons from mainstream indices. In March 2019, Lynx became a signatory of this effort along with 166 signatories corresponding to 8.8 trillion USD in assets.
Environmental resource management
In accordance with Swedish legislation, as an employer, Lynx has the overall responsibility for the Company’s environmental resource management.
The Company’s Chief Executive Officer has the specific responsibility for compliance with this obligation. The ongoing work with the Company’s environmental resource management rests with Lynx’s Office Management function, which also communicates with the landlord on these issues.
The aim of our environmental resource management plan is to increase the awareness of both the Company and its employees and to proactively work against any negative environmental impact of the business. The goals are to reduce the Company’s power consumption, to sort waste and recycle when possible, to ensure that hazardous waste is handled in a safe manner and to use eco-labeled products to the extent possible. All business related flights are compensated for CO2 emissions.
As a financial market participant, we are an integrated part of society. Lynx actively supports the 17 sustainable development goals, adopted in 2013 by the United Nations as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. For this purpose, the firm has formed an internal group consisting of Lynx employees from different divisions within the firm, and with varying backgrounds and expertise, to evaluate and recommend charitable organizations and initiatives to the Board.