DWS Group, the asset management arm of Deutsche Bank, has rejected allegations on it ESG disclosures as report surfaces about the firm being investigated by US regulators.

The asset manager said in a statement that ‘it wants to address unfounded allegations being reported in the media on its ESG disclosures’ although it does not comment on questions relating to litigation or regulatory matters.

DWS’s response comes after WSJ reported that the firm is in legal trouble in the US after its former sustainability head said that the company exaggerated its sustainable investing criteria to manage its assets.

Refuting these reports, DWS said in the statement: “DWS stands by its annual report disclosures. We firmly reject the allegations being made by a former employee. DWS will continue to remain a steadfast proponent of ESG investing as part of its fiduciary role on behalf of its clients.”

The firm said ESG is cornerstone of its corporate strategy to develop into a major ESG asset manager and expects the consideration of ESG criteria to become a license to operate for the entire asset management industry.

It also explained that it had differentiated between ‘ESG Integrated AuM’ and ‘ESG AuM’ when presenting the assets under management in its annual report 2020 and reported both classifications.

According to the firm, it labelled strategies as ‘ESG Integrated’ if they were actively managed and included coverage of ESG data on over 90% of the portfolio.

‘ESG Integrated AuM’ was not counted towards the firm’s ‘ESG AuM’.

In its recently published half-year report, DWS reported €70.1bn of ESG AuM after applying its revised ESG product classification approach in accordance with the new SFDR guidelines.