Responsible Investing Strategies Still a Challenge for Advisers

Only 21% of advisers surveyed reported feeling very well informed about responsible investing strategies, and the survey found accessing ESG data is a challenge for advisers.

Responsible investing continues to gain traction with advisers and their clients, according to the Q4 2017 Eaton Vance Advisor Top-of-Mind Index (ATOMIX) survey of 1,000 financial advisers.

Eighty-four percent of advisers reported their clients have at least some interest in responsible investing options. However, 82% also believe responsible Investing has a long way to go before it becomes mainstream.

One-third (33%) of advisers said they are not adequately informed about responsible investing strategies and another 38% said while somewhat informed, they are looking for further education. Only 21% reported feeling very well informed.

Accessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) data is a challenge for advisers. Sixty-nine percent said corporate sustainability data is hard for investors to obtain. Thirty-seven percent worry about achieving diversification with a responsibly invested fund.

Overall, most advisers believe responsible investing strategies perform relatively well. Seventy-two percent said responsible investing solutions pose the same or less risk as traditional strategies, while 71% said responsible investments are equally as or less volatile than traditional strategies, and 61% believe responsible investment strategies perform the same or better than traditional strategies. 

Client priorities for responsible investing continue to be environmentally focused, with clean energy (53%), sustainability (45%) and climate change (41%) emerging as the dominant reasons for selecting responsible investments.

“Clients are pursuing investment opportunities that align with their personal values,” says Anthony Eames, director of responsible investing strategy, Calvert Research and Management. “The demand for Responsible Investing strategies continues to rise, and advisors who deliver those strategies will emerge as sought-after experts in the field.”

He adds: “The lack of understanding about ESG principals prompted us to create Calvert’s Responsible Investing framework. Our investment strategies follow the Four Pillars of Responsible Investing—performance, research, engagement and impact—which empower investors to seek competitive returns and access the full capital structure with portfolios that reflect their values.”

More findings from the ATOMIX may be found here.