But what do green investments mean in practice?
A report by Common Wealth found that some climate-themed funds invest in oil & gas companies such as ExxonMobil. More broadly, the largest holdings of climate funds were Big Tech and finance. Adrienne Buller, the author of the study, writes “what do these ostensibly climate-focused funds really contribute to combatting the climate crisis, reducing emissions or driving a rapid transition to low carbon economic activities? There is nothing in the specific labelling or remit of these funds that would require them to invest in the green economy, in financial instruments design to drive the transition of business models to lower carbon activities, or other similar investments.” (emphasis mine)
There are plenty of metrics by which providers assess climate risk. Given different methodologies and the complexity of estimating climate risk, there is some divergence in the metrics. However, Chiara Colesanti Senni and Julia Anna Bingler do find that “metrics tend to converge for companies that are most and least exposed to climate risk”.
Data and tools for monitoring climate change and financial assets:
Organizations promoting green finance:
- 2 Degrees Investing Initiative (2DII)
- Climate Bonds Initiative
- KR Foundation
- Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS)
- Pacte Finance-Climat
- Reclaim Finance
Organizations advocating broader economic change, including green finance:
Afme has a nice handbook on primary dealers in Europe. I’ll write about some financial geography insights I gained from this document in the future.
- Dublin: IFSC
- Frankfurt: Frankfurt Main Finance
- London: TheCityUK
- Luxembourg: Luxembourg for Finance
- Madrid: Madrid Investment Attraction (financial center lobby is part of general lobby for the city)
- Paris: Paris EUROPLACE
- Zurich: Finanzplatz Zürich
- Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA)
- Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME)
- European Banking Federation (EBF)
- National banking associations (see map at the bottom of the page)
- Institute of International Finance (IIF)
- Insurance Europe
- Invest Europe
Bank of China and ICBC are obviously Chinese banks. Less well-known, the following banks are also controlled by Chinese shareholders:
During my research on banks in Europe, I came across some strange things. Here’s an example. Some banks have a banking license in a country, while the banks themselves say they are no longer active there:
LBBW has a banking license in Luxembourg according to the ECB.
Credit Europe has a banking license in Belgium according to the ECB.
But Credit Europe says it has stopped its activities in Belgium in 2016.
What’s going on here?
From the 1990s until the global financial crisis, there was a wave of consolidation and international expansion by Western European banks. Over the past decade, M&A activity has been a fraction of what it used to be. International banks have sold part of their foreign subsidiaries, either volontarily or because regulators forced them to slim down.
Who did they sell to? Often to local or regional banks.
Examples (note that this is a work in progress!):
Barclays (UK) sells its controlling stake in Absa (South Africa and 9 other African countries) to investors (2017)
BBVA (Spain) sells BBVA USA to American PNC Financial Services Group (2020)
Asia and the Middle East
Dexia (Belgium) sells Denizbank (Turkey) to Russian Sberbank (2012)
National Bank of Greece (Greece) sells Finansbank (Turkey) to Qatari QNB (2016)
Sberbank (Russia) sells Denizbank (Turkey) to (United Arab) Emirates NBD (2019)
ABN AMRO (Netherlands) winds down its corporate banking activities in Asia, Australia, Brazil and the US (2020)
UniCredit (Italy) sells most of its stake in Yapi Kredi (Turkey) (2020)
HSBC (UK) wants to exit Turkey (2020)
Central and Eastern Europe
AIB (Ireland) sells its stake in Bank Zachodni (Poland) to Spanish Santander (2010)
Barclays (UK) sells Expobank (Russia) to Russian financier Igor Kim (2011)
KBC (Belgium) sells Kredytbank (Poland) to Spanish Santander (2012)
KBC (Belgium) sells its minority stake in Nova Ljubljanska Banka (Slovenia) to Slovenia (2012)
KBC (Belgium) sells Absolut Bank (Russia) to Russian investors (2012)
KBC (Belgium) sells KBC Banka (Serbia) to French Société Générale and Norwegian Telenor (2013)
National Bank of Greece (Greece) sells UBB (Bulgaria) to Belgian KBC (2016)
UniCredit (Italy) sells its controlling stake in Pekao (Poland) to local investors (2016)
Alpha Bank (Greece) sells Alpha Bank Srbija (Serbia) to Serbian AIK Banka (2017)
Cyprus Popular Bank (Cyprus) sells Marfin Bank (Serbia) to Expobank CZ (Czech Republic) (2017)
Eurobank (Greece) sells Bancpost (Romania) to Romanian Banca Transilvania (2017)
National Bank of Greece (Greece) sells its subsidiaries in Serbia to Hungarian OTP (2017)
Piraeus Bank (Greece) sells its unit in Serbia to Serbian Direktna Banka (2017)
Société Générale (France) sells most of its Central and Eastern European subsidiaries to Hungarian OTP (2017-2019)
Société Générale (France) sells Euro Bank (Poland) to Portuguese Millennium bcp (2018)
Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall (Germany) sells its stake in CMSS (Czech Republic) to Belgian KBC (2019)
Piraeus Bank (Greece) sells PBB (Bulgaria) to Greek Eurobank (2019)
Danske Bank (Denmark) sells its unit in Estonia to Estonian LHV Pank (2020)
Danske Bank (Denmark) sells its business in Latvia to Latvian Citadele Bank (2020)
For more on bank consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe, see this report by Deloitte.
Citibank (US) sells its retail banking activities in Belgium to French Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (2012)
Barclays (UK) sells its retail branches in Italy to Italian Mediobanca (2015)
HSBC (UK) wants to sell its retail banking operation in France (2020)
BBVA (Spain) increases its stake in Garanti (Turkey) to 49.85% (2017)
KBC (Belgium) buys OTP Banka Slovensko (Slovakia) from Hungarian OTP (2020)
Dubai (query for bank/banc/banque/credit in the company name and status = active)
New York (query ‘Foreign Agency’ and ‘Foreign Branch’ to find the international banks in NY)
United States (national banks, supervised by the OCC)
If you know where to find official lists of banks in China, please let me know in the comments!