Der Wind der Veränderung weht in der Finanzwelt. Aber warum bauen wir Mauern auf?

Freitag, 16. Oktober 2015 | 11:15 Uhr


Klaus Tischhauser


responsAbility investments AG


responsAbility was founded in 2003 to use the power of financial markets to alleviate poverty. The company finances the solutions to problems common to poor households. Investee companies offer relevant and affordable services to millions of underserved households and grow accordingly. Investors earn a financial return as well as a sense of purpose through investment in targeted entrepreneurship.

Starting from almost nothing, responsAbility today has 2.6bn USD assets under management deployed as development investments. This is more than the annual budget of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The amount is substantial, but may appear small, for instance if compared to the 250bn Euro transferred for the reconstruction of Eastern Germany during the 1990s.

The financing demand in developing countries remains vast. It is also increasing steadily, as the 100 countries attracting development investments experience annual GDP growth of 5% on average. Formalization and growth of businesses – helped by technological progress as well as the steadily improving business environment in a majority of countries – open new opportunities which need financing. This financing demand is neither sufficiently met by short-term oriented local financiers nor by inflexible public development finance, so the opportunity is largely left to private actors capable of mobilizing the capital needed and able to manage the Investments.

Fortunately, broad accumulation of wealth has materialized over passed decades in rich countries like Switzerland, in the form of household savings and company pension schemes. A trend in society towards the sustainability of all aspects of life has only started to encompass the financial sector and its offering – despite many savers’ and investors’ disposition to long term thinking. Today, more than a dozen traditional Swiss banks engage in development investments. They do so because it works, making their clients happy.

Unfortunately, the relentless increase in regulation in the financial sector, in Switzerland as in the EU, paired with counterproductive tax rules and onerous product registration cost, make the small group of World-leading Switzerland-based development investment pioneers look like a one-hit wonder. Much needed innovation in the Swiss financial sector is discouraged and stifled by a deteriorating regulatory environment. This will not stop responsAbility, today’s market leader, or its peers. But it inhibits start-up competitors with similar or new ideas around how to deploy capital to where it is most needed, most productive, and hence generating very respectable returns.


(Abstract nur auf Englisch verfügbar)

Klaus Tischhauser

  1. More than 25 years‘ professional experience in the finance sector, among others at Credit Suisse
  2. Worked for SAM Sustainable Asset Management; was involved in building up the company, executing the first IPO of an SRI-focused investment company and launching the first sustainability index with Dow Jones Indexes
  3. Founded a consulting company specializing in environmental issues
  4. Developed extensive awareness of the lives of underprivileged people during a two-year cycling trip from Zurich to Cape Town
  5. Degree in Business Administration from Zurich University of Applied Sciences and a postgraduate degree in Ecology 


Role at responsAbility

  • Executive management, defining and implementing strategic Goals
  • Responsible for all client- and media-related activities (Relationship Management, Marketing & Communications and Product Management) as well as Human Resources and IT

(CV nur auf Englisch verfügbar)

Donatoren und Partner

Der ETH-Rat ist verantwortlich für die strategische Führung des ETH-Bereichs und übernimmt die Aufsicht über dessen Institutionen. Die enge Partnerschaft zum ETH-Rat seit dem Jahr 2000 trägt zu einem erfolgreichen Fortbestehen der Stiftung Academia Engelberg bei.

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