Reports and surveys in the last few years found increased investor interest in ESG. Now too much data without standards has led to ESG integration pains. In addition, ‘green washing’ did not help funds establish trust with investors easily.
With a few years on the ESG bandwagon, there is now data about ESG investing and portfolio performance.
In a recent article in FT one manager was clear on the expectations investors need to have when thinking about ESG investing – “Time for investors to grasp that ESG is not about achieving systematic out-performance. It can be a useful tool for investors to express their values in portfolios and hence derive additional non-monetary benefits from investment activity.”
Another survey from RBC Wealth found that clients are increasingly more concerned about their return on investment than about the ESG impact of their choices.
ESG as a growth trend will continue and asset managers will need to work on ESG integration as data standards continue to take shape. This is primarily a data management challenge that most asset managers anyway need to focus on.
The ability to analyze large data sets using business intelligence tools and enable slicing/dicing of data across sectors, country, ESG attributes, etc. is still a strength that managers need to continue to focus on for positioning the firm for the long-term.
Also, such analysis will help in making better portfolio management decisions, including risk management which is the need of the hour in today’s volatile markets.