Swiss group Pictet to eliminate fossil fuel portfolio

ZURICH, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Swiss private bank and asset manager Pictet will eliminate its 250 million Swiss franc ($258 million) exposure to fossil fuel producers by the end of this year, it said, joining a funds exodus amid mounting climate change concerns.

“We believe that, irrespective of collective public sector action on moving to a carbon-neutral economy, companies in the private sector should also advance this objective independently,” senior partner Renaud de Planta said in a statement on Wednesday.

“As we have full control of our balance sheet, this is one undertaking that we can make now.”

The move covers treasury positions, hedging instruments, structured products and seed investments in producers of oil, gas and coal.

Pictet said assets under management or custody rose 16% last year to a record 576 billion Swiss francs, driven by a net new money inflow of 25 billion francs plus a strong market performance.

Its group profit fell 9.5% to 539 million francs as it stepped up investment in staff and infrastructure. The number of employees rose by a net 374 last year. ($1 = 0.9699 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)