E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul  
November 29, 2019


Ron Robins, Editor. E-mail /289-271-0873            Latest news at https://investingforthesoul.com/

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MSCI arms all investors with ESG ratings of 2,800 top firms. "The ratings provider said in a statement it had made public on its website the ratings on the companies in its All-Country World Index .MIWD00000PUS 'to help ... identify the most financially relevant ESG risks and opportunities.'"

[COMMENTARY] This is good news for all ethical and sustainable investors! For company rating information, click here.
MSCI arms all investors with ESG ratings of 2,800 top firms, by Simon Jessop, Carolyn Cohn, November 25, 2019, Reuters, UK.


ESG in credit markets -- what's material? "When it comes to applying ESG insights in credit markets, we find some early evidence that a deeper understanding of materiality can help deliver a financial edge. What do we mean by materiality? It's the connection between exposure to given sustainable properties and returns or risk, as we write in our new paper Sustainability: the bond that endures."

[COMMENTARY] Provides a good outline of what is material to investors concerning ESG from a credit perspective.
ESG in credit markets -- what's material? By Andre Bertolotti at Blackrock, November 25, 2019, Nasdaq, USA.


Fossil fuel divestment will increase carbon emissions, not lower them -- here's why. "Recent research suggests that divestment can reduce the flow of investment into these companies. But even if the divestment movement were successful in reducing the economic power of these companies, IOCs currently only produce about 10% of the world's oil.

The rest is mostly produced by national oil companies (NOCs) -- state-owned behemoths such as Saudi Aramco, National Iranian Oil Company, China National Petroleum Corporation and Petroleos de Venezuela, located mostly in low and middle income countries."

[COMMENTARY] An important analysis concerning fossil fuel divesting.
Fossil fuel divestment will increase carbon emissions, not lower them -- here's why. By Stefan Andreasson, November 25, 2019, The Conversation, Canada.


IA launches ESG definitions. "The [UK] Investment Association has launched industry-wide definitions on responsible and ESG investing in an attempt to create a common language for advisers, fund managers and consumers."

[COMMENTARY] The UK's Investment Association could be setting an industry standard that might possibly be used globally. I'm happy to see this occur as it has been a long time coming!
IA launches ESG definitions, by Imogen Tew, November 18, 2019, FT Advisor, UK.


'Formal Commitment' to ESG Investing Stalls. "Managers cite client unfamiliarity with ESG factors (26%), the perception that considering ESG issues have a negative impact on performance (25%), and difficulty defining the boundaries of ESG (25%) as major challenges to client receptivity."

[COMMENTARY] I think that many managers underestimate how knowledgeable and receptive to ESG their clients are.
'Formal Commitment' to ESG Investing Stalls, by John Sullivan, November 15, 2019, 401k Specialist, USA.


Millennials see retirement and financial planning differently than other generations. "Recent research from the Public Policy Forum (PPF) in Ottawa shows millennials have a very different perspective on retirement and financial planning than previous generations... Its research outlines the many challenges that financial planners and financial advisors will have in securing millennials as clients."

[COMMENTARY] The research cited informs advisors on how to approach and retain millennials as clients.
Millennials see retirement and financial planning differently than other generations, by Keith Costello, November 15, 2019, Investment Executive, Canada.


Enhancement to Sustainability Rating Emphasizes Material ESG Risk. "Beginning this month, our Morningstar Sustainability Rating incorporates this concept of materiality by adopting a new company-level ESG risk framework developed by Sustainalytics. As a result, the rating now provides greater insight into how well companies in a portfolio are managing the material ESG issues they face both relative to their industries and across industries."

[COMMENTARY] Morningstar is taking a big step forward in its ESG company ratings by including materiality in its ESG ratings -- courtesy of course to Sustainalytics.
Enhancement to Sustainability Rating Emphasizes Material ESG Risk, by Jon Hale, November 11, 2019, Morningstar, USA.


World Bank launches ESG rating system for sovereigns. "The free-to-use Sovereign ESG Data Portal has been built to equip investors with more detailed ESG information on sustainable development policy indicators and provide information which may support private sector investment in emerging markets and developing countries."

[COMMENTARY] There's a huge trove of information in this World Bank site. However, for ease of use, it lacks an overall ratings' system where a grade is assigned to a country's ESG performance.
World Bank launches ESG rating system for sovereigns, by Joe McGrath, November 7, 2019, UK.


The Green Short: Funds Target Laggards in Sustainable Shift. "Some mutual funds are now shorting unsustainable companies. More than 1,900 funds aim to invest according to ESG criteria"

[COMMENTARY] It was inevitable that shorting ESG laggards would arise. Now it's here. It's becoming acceptable now that the stock prices of companies leading on ESG criteria frequently outperform. That's why over 1,900 funds aim to have an ESG focus. I've said for decades that ethical and sustainable investing -- ESG -- will become so commonplace that it will just become that standard for markets everywhere. It seems we're on the precipice of that reality!
The Green Short: Funds Target Laggards in Sustainable Shift, by Lucca De Paoli, November 5, 2019, Bloomberg, USA.


ANALYSIS: Tracking SEC's Evolving Approach to ESG Disclosures. "The SEC is moving--slowly--toward including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosures in public company filings. Although the U.S. House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee in July 2019 rejected a bill that would have aligned ESG reporting standards closer to those found in the EU and required climate change risk factor disclosures, ESG is an issue only likely to gain in prominence in the near future."

[COMMENTARY] As the article above this one clearly shows, companies and the investment industry itself are forcing the SEC to act.
ANALYSIS: Tracking SEC's Evolving Approach to ESG Disclosures, by Preston Brewer, November 4, 2019, Bloomberg Law, USA.


Advisers [in the UK] face avalanche of ESG questions from clients. "Nearly 70% have been asked about responsible investing in the last six months."

[COMMENTARY] Is it finally happening? Clients telling advisors about their personal values and advisors actually responding to them? I've been waiting decades for this day!
Advisers face avalanche of ESG questions from clients, Cherry Reynard, November 1, 2019, International Advisor, UK. 


Featured Book

Investing for Good: Increasing your personal well-being while changing the world, by Mark Mobius, Carlos von Hardenberg, and Greg Konieczny. Bloomsbury Business 2019.
"But how do individuals--rather than institutional investors--invest using ESG criteria? And just how complex are the procedures? This new book, written by investment guru Mark Mobius and his expert team, is full of entertaining and informative anecdotes from the authors’ day-to-day experiences in the world of sustainable investment."

Note: Articles are linked to the original source. Some sites might require registration, and may, or may not, archive stories. All links were active at the time of publication.

Disclaimer: Neither The Soul Investor nor Ron Robins makes investment recommendations. Nothing in this newsletter should be interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation to buy/sell any securities or investments. The Soul Investor is a source of general information and resources for spiritual investing, ethical investing, and socially responsible investing (SRI). Investors should consider their actions thoroughly and consult their professional advisers prior to taking any investment action. The Soul Investor does not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in articles in its newsletter or offered on the web pages to which it might be linked. Such opinions are the responsibility of the writers themselves. Furthermore, The Soul Investor does not offer or provide any warranties, representations, guarantees, implied or otherwise, as to the accuracy, legality, copyright compliance, timeliness or usefulness of the information, materials or services in this e-newsletter, or other sites, to which it might be linked. Also, Mr. Ron Robins is not an investment advisor, nor is he licensed with any professional investment related body, and thus is not able to, nor does he make, any investment recommendations.

The Soul Investor is a publication of Investing for the Soul, a registered business name in Ontario, Canada. Copyright © 2019 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.