News & Commentaries by Ron Robins
Should impact investors aim for market returns? “Impact investing launches are increasingly shedding the caveat that deep social impact results in a sacrifice of financial returns.”
[COMMENTARY]Though this article discusses impact investing in the UK environment, the arguments presented are universally applicable.
Should impact investors aim for market returns? By Nicola Brittain, August 23, 2018, Portfolio Adviser, UK.
US SIF Foundation Releases 2018 Money Manager Roadmap: “Moving Forward with Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing: A Roadmap for Money Managers.” “The report provides best practices and practical steps asset managers can take to develop and enhance sustainable investing strategies.”
[COMMENTARY]The US SIF always produces excellent guides and information.
US SIF Foundation Releases 2018 Money Manager Roadmap: “Moving Forward with Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing: A Roadmap for Money Managers, August 15, 2018, US SIF, USA.
New: The Big Book of SI by Robeco. “In our new, 102-page, The Big Book of SI, we analyze the present status of sustainability investing and the big trends that are shaping its future. The book also zooms in on sustainability reporting and the link between ESG and performance.”
[COMMENTARY]Netherlands-based Robeco has long been a pioneer in sustainable investing. The information and reports they produce have a great reputation.
New: The Big Book of SI by Robeco, August 13, 2018, Robeco, The Netherlands.
Report: time to rethink ESG index construction. “Traditional index construction not effective because it makes it difficult for investors to assess source of outperformance.”
[COMMENTARY]This interesting article discusses a study which highlights the difficulty in pointing to ESG factors as a standalone factor in ESG fund alpha. The report suggests ESG funds need improved construction to isolate all causes of outperformance.
Report: time to rethink ESG index construction, by Joe McGrath, August 14, 2018, Expert Investor, UK.
Companies with strong ESG scores outperform, study finds. “Portfolios in large and medium-sized groups in developed markets, excluding the US, record best results.”
[COMMENTARY]Actually, the US portfolios did well too. Just not as well as those in Europe, most particularly. Incidentally, it’s interesting to see how the EU and US governments seem to be diverging on encouraging ESG in funds’ management.
The US Department of Labor recently issued a sort of warning about pension funds using ESG analysis, while the EU is going full steam encouraging ESG integration in funds’ management! I think the US administration has too much of a rear view mirror when it comes to understanding the present and future economy.
Companies with strong ESG scores outperform, study finds, by Jennifer Thompson, August 12, 2018, FT, UK.
Majority of impact investors satisfied with investment performance: survey. “The majority of impact investors said their investments have met their expectations for both impact (82 per cent) and financial (76 per cent) performance since inception, according to a report by the Global Impact Investment Network.”
[COMMENTARY]It’s great news that most impact investors are really happy with their investment results. Such data will inspire many more to invest similarly.
Majority of impact investors satisfied with investment performance: survey, August 10, 2018, Benefits Canada, Canada.
ESG adoption gaining among U.S. asset owners … Callan survey. “More than 40% of U.S. asset owners have incorporated environmental, social and governance factors into their investment decisions, up from 37% in 2017 and 22% in 2013, said Callan’s annual ESG survey report, released Wednesday.”
[COMMENTARY]Of course, when a respondent says they’ve incorporated’ ESG into their investment decisions, it’s difficult to know if that’s really the case.
For instance, for a fund manager evaluating governance decisions of a company’s management, could suggest to them that they’re already incorporating ESG into their investment decisions! However, the fact that this survey shows increasing acceptance of ESG on a yearly basis perhaps argues against this simplistic read of the survey results.
ESG adoption gaining among U.S. asset owners … Callan survey, by Meaghan Kilroy, August 8, 2018, Pensions & Investments, USA.
Investors ask 500 companies to come clean on treatment of workers. “More than 100 institutional investors, which together manage $12trn in assets, have sent a survey to 500 companies demanding that they disclose detailed information on how they manage their global workforces.”
[COMMENTARY]Finally, this issue is receiving the attention of some of the biggest investors on the planet. It’ll be quite interesting to see who responds and what the data says.
Investors ask 500 companies to come clean on treatment of workers, by Katie Burton, August 7, 2018, Ethical Corporation, UK.
Poll shows low adoption of smart beta ESG funds. “Research among 85 clients of Aberdeen Standard Investments and Sustainalytics found that only 24% of the sample group were actively using a dedicated smart beta ESG strategy in their portfolio at present.”
[COMMENTARY]At 24%, I don’t think the adoption rate is too bad at all. As Doug Morrow at Sustainalytics says, these are relatively early days yet.
Poll shows low adoption of smart beta ESG funds, by Joe McGrath, August 1, 2018, Expert Investor, UK.
Lack of market ‘plumbing′ holds back sustainable investing. “We need standards, benchmarks and derivatives to make this sector take off.”
[COMMENTARY]A thoughtful article by the chairman of UBS on how sustainable investing can become fully mainstream. Also, it’s terrific to see a leader such as Mr. Weber participating in the process of advancing sustainable investing.
Lack of market ‘plumbing′ holds back sustainable investing, by Axel Weber (chairman of UBS), July 29, 2018, FT, UK.
Market Momentum: Impact Investing & High Net Worth Canadians. “There is a high potential market for impact investing amongst high net worth individuals in Canada. One in three HNWIs responded as a current impact investor, with almost 90% expressing interest of investors surveyed, over 52% are investing or intending to invest for impact over the course of the upcoming year. There are some key characteristics of current and prospective impact investors.”
[COMMENTARY]BMO, Scotiabank, and Tides Canada are among the major backers of this study. The study is of particular interest to Canadian advisors with HNWI clients. In general, it shows considerable and growing interest among Canadian HNWIs in impact investing.
Market Momentum: Impact Investing & High Net Worth Canadians, July 2018, MaRS and SVX, Canada.
Profitable Conservation: Business Strategies that Boost Your Bottom Line, Protect Wildlife, and Conserve Biodiversity, by Mark Aspelin, Gypsy Road Publishing 2018.
“The diversity of nature, perfected over millions of years, provide many secrets that can be of great benefit to humans. If we lose biodiversity, we lose that potential. In a world of population increase, habitat destruction, and especially industrialized agriculture, biodiversity is the victim. Mark Aspelin’s excellent presentation provides ideas about how business and biodiversity can go hand in hand.”—Dr. George Archibald, Co-Founder and Senior Conservationist at The International Crane Foundation.