A critical evaluation of attitudes towards sustainable investment with a focus on pension funds – a case study on the company Siemens AG
This research project aims to examine the attitudes beneficiaries and pension fund managers hold towards incorporating sustainability as a bigger factor into their investment portfolios. The study does this by analysing the general attitudes towards sustainability and the drivers of investment, to later investigate the influence these drivers have on the investment behaviour. To achieve these aims, the researcher identified five objectives: 1) to broadly examine the existing literature on the topics of sustainability and attitudes towards investments, 2) to evaluate the importance of pension funds and their investments, 3) to identify key drivers of investment, both with private and institutional investors, 4) to explore sustainable investments and develop a thorough understanding of the topic and 5) to determine the way beneficiaries and pension fund managers perceive the importance of sustainability when it comes to investments. To fulfil the above stated aims, the researcher chose to follow a sequential mixed method approach to collect data. A questionnaire was used as the primary source of data collection, followed by an e-mail interview with the manager of Siemens´ pension fund to attain higher confidence in the results. The findings drawn from this research were surprising as most scholars in the field suggested that there are differences in investment behaviours to be observed due to factors, such as age, gender and education. However, the questionnaire showed no difference in investment behaviours between genders, age groups or educational level. As these results were unexpected the interview was important to validate the findings. The pension fund manager agrees with the findings from the quantitative part of the research and confirms everyone is looking for returns. The study concludes on recommendations for future research to follow this one.