Recommended Reads

Impact and Sustainable Investing

Each of our recommended reads focuses on a current topical discussion point within the investment and wealth management sector, aiming to share some of the most notable observations.

This month, we are looking at Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), impact and sustainability. Industry trends show that their value and importance to investors across the board is changing and below we have collated a number of valuable insights in this regard.

Ingraining sustainability in the next era of ESG investing – Deloitte

Tania Lynn Taylor and Sean Collins write for Deloitte about the evolution of investor preferences and sustainable and impact investment’s deepening foothold in the market. They look at ESG investing standards, ESG-mandated assets and new ESG funds, and what they mean for investment managers.

Concern about the impact humanity is having on the environment is escalating, particularly in the light of numerous weather phenomena linked to climate change, from heatwaves to flooding. As a result, investors are seeking to develop their SRI and this means investment managers are now looking to establish clear policies for the sector, the regulators and investors.

Why ESG Investing Just Makes Sense – Forbes

In this examination of the systematic risk and opportunity that ESG offers to investors, Forbes contributor Brad McMillan considers what might be holding those newly considering ESG investing back. This concise exploration of ESG attempts to correct assumptions made about investing, as a practice within wealth management, and the place of sustainable investing in our collective future.

The Rise of Sustainable Investing: How Asset Managers Can Best Prepare for an ESG Future – The Fintech Times

“Investment is now increasingly being shaped by ESG criteria.” Although impact and sustainable investing is not new, it is in its relative infancy as a substantial proportion of investment portfolios. The drive in growth the past few years, and likely continued growth, means that regulations need to be established for the clarity and safety of the sector. Asset managers need to be ready for when these regulations become established.

There are numerous drivers of the growth of ESG, from the changing climate to post-COVID impacts on businesses, through to families looking ahead at the next generation – a group that are applying pressure and often spearheading adjustments to wealth portfolios to embrace more SRI.

A More Impactful Approach To Impact Investing – Forbes

For those investors and wealth managers already ensconced in sustainable and impact investing, though not exclusively those already operating in ESG, now is the prime time to drive innovation and help support the economy.

Following significant social change, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we head into an economic recession, Forbes Councils Member Todd Khozein considers how “these converging disasters offer investors a chance to not only put their money toward important causes that will help us rebuild but also to reimagine how the new economy should be designed”.

‘Socially Responsible Investing Movement Is Hot And There Are No Signs Of It Cooling Off’ – CNBC

Whilst SRI assets in the US have been ‘growing at nearly 40% year-over-year since 2016’, corporations are failing to react to this increased demand, according to CNBC. Almost every large US corporation and high-value business is making advances in sustainability and SRI work, but many are not reporting it effectively – missing out on a substantial sector of the investment community looking to focus on assets that have a sense of social purpose.

SRI isn’t a new trend, but it does seem to be gathering momentum and as such we would expect listed companies to make more of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) going forward – in turn providing more SRI investing opportunities in the coming future.

‘Are Ultra-Rich Ditching Philanthropy For Sustainable Investment?’ – Citywire

Giving back and using accrued wealth from investments to support organisations, charities and NGOs is important for society. But in this modern age, philanthropy isn’t the only positive impact form of investment.

In April, Citywire reported that Maya Prahbu, head of wealth advisory, EMEA, at JP Morgan Private Bank noted ‘people are carving out some of their grant money to do some soft impact investing…that could have a social and environmental impact, as well as a return.’

Where philanthropic investing is likely to remain a key staple to succession planning, we are seeing, particularly in the next generation, a shift towards SRI. This article investigates how the sense of responsibility in investors is changing and whether philanthropic investing and SRI can co-exist.

‘Impact Investing Trends in 2019 Include Greater Focus On Gender’ – Forbes

One of the newer investment opportunities for those diversifying from philanthropy, is within women focused initiatives. In this article from Forbes, Devon Thorpe examines the evolving nature of impact investing, speaking with 50 thought-leaders and key practitioners in the sector, to better understand how it is changing. He pulls together 11 trends that are currently being observed.

One of the primary trends in the development of impact investing is women, such as female-led groups and businesses around the world. In addition, Thorpe notes trends in alternative deal structures, micro and SME investments and developing markets. Whilst he states clearly that these may be US biased at the time of writing, it shows that impact investment opportunities are broad and varied – offering food for thought for those looking to broaden their SRI portfolio.

Investing To ‘Do Good’ In Socially Responsible Funds Can Still Be A Challenge’ – The Scotsman

Matthew Brown, Head of Portfolio Management at Thorntons Investments, discusses in The Scotsman the growing interest in ‘ethical investing’ and its subjective nature. In looking at how investors might find a worthy cause for their investments, he considers the highly personalised nature of seeking avenues that reflect individual beliefs, and to what extent profit and loss factors into decision making. He also considers the benefits of charitable trusts and intergenerational wealth planning.

‘Investors Should Worry If Climate Goals Are Missed, Report Warns’ – Bloomberg

Bloomberg looks at new findings from investment advisory firm, Mercer LLC, and their report which ‘marks one of the first attempts to model sector-specific investment risks from climate change over decades.’ Their findings illustrate how climate change will affect coal, infrastructure and renewables investments, among others and to what degree. Now is an important time for asset analysis and this is a wake up call for many investors.

Next: More Recommended Reads By Topic

Our recommended reads series collects the important and interesting articles from across the wealth management and investment sector, collating them by area of investment or kind of investor. You can learn more about how investment trends are changing and which streams are being utilised by checking back regularly.

Alternatively, to discuss investment opportunities with a member of the Wren Investment Office team, you can contact us by phone or email.

Why not check out our Recommended Reads for Family Offices next?