Deutsche Bank-owned fund manager DWS has proposed a dividend of up to £859m in 2024, as the German company tries to move on from allegations that it misled investors over its green credentials.
The announcement comes ahead of a briefing by company management of investors and analysts by new chief executive officer Stefan Hoops.
Hoops took the helm of the fund manager earlier this year after a management shake-up following allegations and regulatory investigations into the so-called greenwashing. DWS has repeatedly denied the allegations.
DWS said the special dividend for 2024 was “subject to capital commitment to organic and inorganic growth initiatives”. DWS also announced that it would propose a dividend payout ratio of around 65% from 2025 on. That is higher than the ratio of 51% last year and an average of 61% since its initial public offering in 2018.
In June, authorities searched the offices of Deutsche Bank AG and its asset management unit DWS to investigate allegations of greenwashing. The case was the first of its kind in Europe.
DWS had been under investigation since last year after concerns were raised by the firm’s former sustainability chief Desiree Fixler, who alleged that DWS misrepresented the extent to which its assets were invested using ESG integration in its annual report.
“I believe these are the first ripples of a wave of regulatory interventions that we are likely to see in the coming months,” Sonali Siriwardena, partner and global head of ESG at law firm Simmons & Simmons, told Bloomberg. “The number of ESG-focused funds has soared, so it’s no surprise that the regulators want to set expectations to maintain market credibility.”
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