SUSI Partners holds first Summit since 2019

After a 3-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SUSI Summit came back strong in 2022, bringing together investors, business partners, and the SUSI team for an informative and fun event.

A lot has changed at SUSI Partners since the last SUSI Summit in 2019, which had also marked the firm’s 10-year anniversary. When Co-CEOs Marius Dorfmeister and Marco van Daele took the helm in January 2020, the objective was clear: to ready the firm for the next growth phase while remaining a leader in sustainable energy infrastructure investments, driving forward the urgent transition towards clean, secure, and affordable energy systems.

Onwards and upwards: a continuously growing, institutionalised fund manager

Referring back to that objective, over 100 participants were welcomed in Zurich’s Greencity district and presented with a recap of several structural changes implemented at SUSI over the last 3 years, including the buildout of the firm’s in-house Asset Management and Client Services teams, the expansion and formalisation of a dedicated Sustainability function, and the consolidation of support functions. It was then explained how the firm’s evolved investment strategy and the refined alignment of the investment teams with fund mandates account for the increasing convergence of technologies and business models in the energy transition space – moving from separate sectoral themes (such as renewables, energy efficiency, or energy storage) towards holistic energy transition strategies across offerings with targeted risk/return profiles.

As presented subsequently, these changes have facilitated the company’s growth, with investor commitments up 62% and deployed capital seeing a 63% increase since the change in management in January 2020. For investor commitments, this increase was accompanied by a steady rise in the average ticket size and an expansion into new markets both in terms of investor type and geography. A similar dynamic has unfolded for investments, with the footprint now covering five continents. However, as Jan Krüger, the recently appointed Chairman pointed out, it will not stop there. Enabling further growth over the next five years, in close cooperation with the management and focussing on aligned partnership, will be a key focus for him.

Driving forward the net-zero transition

The participants then turned their attention to a topic at the core of SUSI Partners’ purpose: sustainability and supporting the global efforts towards achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Pointing to countless “net zero” and “carbon neutral” commitments made in recent years, SUSI Partners’ sustainable investing specialist Raphaela Schmid noted that these deserve critical scrutiny. With unclear language, deficient greenhouse gas measuring and accounting standards, and significant data gaps expected to persist for some time, the financial sector still has many challenges to overcome in creating comparable and consistent greenhouse gas reporting methods.

Calling for actions rather than commitments, she then sketched out SUSI’s methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and emphasised the importance of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 3, Category 15, which relates to “Financed Emissions” for asset owners and typically represents more than 99% of total emissions in the financial sector. She concluded by highlighting the need for a concerted effort among financial institutions in improving reporting standards to ultimately accelerate the redirection of capital towards solutions that are compatible with a net-zero future.

Success based on long-term partnerships

Subsequent interactive breakout sessions with the three investment teams covering equity, credit, and Asian investments to discuss their respective energy transition strategies were attended by existing and prospective clients. After a short coffee break, the surprise guest speaker took over. Christian Gansch, a globally renowned conductor and music producer, introduced the guests to the fascinating inner workings of orchestras. He recounted the astounding cooperative efforts that are required to make all members and sections of an orchestra set aside their egos to create harmony, fully committed to provide an unforgettable experience to their audience. The implications for running a successful business were not lost on anyone.

And in that spirit, all participants headed to the shore of lake Zurich for dinner, drinks, and a fruitful exchange between all attendees. And while the weather was challenging at times, the rain pouring down on the tent made for even closer connections formed – and to close out an already colourful event, it provided the attendees with a beautiful double rainbow over lake Zurich.