Displaying items by tag: SRI
ESG has been getting more and more mainstream, and yesterday it likely took the final hurdle to major acceptance...View the full story on our partner Magnifi’s site
Goldman Sachs is entering the ESG market as it plans to sell bonds to finance greener projects this week. This is part of the firm's broader attempts to provide funds to socially conscious investments. In fact GS plans to issue $750 billion in credit by 2030 to this trending area of finance. CEO of Golman Sachs Bank Carey Halio said to expect a steady stream of issuance in ESG, but the size of these initiatives will grow slowly over time. Goldman is just the latest to jump into this segment of the market. Investors may also have the opportunity to invest in alternative currencies in the future as Goldman has indicated a similar rollout could happen in the euro area. GS is just the latest of financial firms moving into the growing ESG arena. Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley helped contribute the $118 billion growth in ESG last year.
FINSUM: Financial firms involvement in ESG will only continue as many of these companies will find helpful policies with the new administration.
Asset managers, other industry participants, and others on the left have been outraged over the last several weeks about a new DOL proposal that would essentially bar ESG investments from being included in 401(k)s. Multiple large asset managers, including BlackRock and T. Rowe Price have issued statements asserting how out of touch the new DOL policy would be with current wealth management trends. The general attitude of asset managers is that the DOL is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. According to T. Rowe Price, “There is no factual support for the proposition that ESG is being misused currently … Accordingly, the proposed rule’s efforts to impose new requirements on fiduciaries’ consideration of ESG is not necessary”.
FINSUM: We understand the concern about making sure 401ks put economics first, but there just does not seem to be enough evidence of misbehavior to warrant this kind of restrictive policy. Furthermore, ESG funds have been outperforming conventional ones since the start of the pandemic!
ESG is growing steadily in the asset management community. More and more capital is being to committed to green bonds and other sustainable investments. Yet, as anyone who pays close attention will know, the definition of “green” or “sustainable”, is poorly defined. Academics have not helped, as their research—a big part of the movement—has somewhat muddled the power of the brand. Now, however, finance is demanding more research from academics, and both are aiming to work together more closely to deliver a better ESG product.
FINSUM: We can speak from experience in saying that when you get down to actual company selection according to ESG factors, it becomes very difficult to make any informed choices because of how little core data there is on which to make a decision.
Some may like it, some may not, but there is no changing the fact that ESG, or the acronym used to describe various social, governance, and environmental considerations when investing, is now part of the mainstream. Asset managers large and small, recently led by BlackRock, are now using ESG as a key factor in their investing. One asset manager comments that “In general, companies with the strongest records on employee relations and environmental sustainability, for example, often have better financial performance over the long run than those with the weakest records … Do you really want to hold a carbon-intensive company that’s not thinking about [the risks?”.
FINSUM: The big news here is that ESG and other “responsible” funds have had better returns in recent years than conventional funds, so the old mode of thinking this area has poor returns needs to shift.