The University of Helsinki’s securities portfolio, which is valued at over €600 million, generated a return of 16.0% in the first half of 2021, while the corresponding figure for the benchmark index that reflects a similar risk level was 10.3%. The strong performance was boosted by both a positive trend in the global stock markets and, in particular, the sale of the non-listed company Mobidiag to the United States.
Early in the year, the University of Helsinki invested in the first student startups through the HELSEED programme. The first investments, €30,000 each, were awarded to Evexia Ltd, a company that is developing a digital solution for monitoring the condition and treatment of cancer patients, and Evergreen Viherseinät Ltd, which manufactures and sells user- and eco-friendly cultivation equipment and provides related services. The University aims to markedly increase investment in businesses founded by students.
Progressing toward a carbon-neutral investment portfolio
The University of Helsinki’s objective is to be Europe’s leading and most responsible university investor. In terms of environmental responsibility, an interim goal was achieved at the end of 2020 as all remaining investments in the production of fossil fuels were divested. Consequently, the University no longer had any investment in fossil fuel production in the period of January–June 2021. The goal is to make the portfolio carbon neutral by 2030.
In 2019, the University of Helsinki adopted a new investment policy, which includes the exclusion of fossil fuel production, as well as low costs. During the time period that the new policy has been in use, the average annual return on investment has been 23.5%, while the corresponding figure for the benchmark index has been 15.3%.
“The investment activities of the University of Helsinki during the first half of 2021 once again demonstrated that financial efficiency and responsibility can go hand in hand. We believe our investment activities reflect our values and goals very well. Hopefully they can offer other investors interesting or applicable perspectives,” Chief Investment Officer Anders Ekholm sums up.
Anders Ekholm, chief investment officer, +358 50 526 4253, firstname.lastname@example.org