Displaying items by tag: SRI

Friday, 02 July 2021 16:51

Are ESG Funds Worth it?

(New York)

Any advisor likely already knows it, but it is worth repeating: ESG funds are troubling space. They are significantly more costly than traditional funds, have middling returns, and perhaps worst of all, these days they seem quite undifferentiated from conventional funds. One of the big problems in the space is that there is no universal definition of ESG or standard convention for defining ESG risks or parameters, so anyone can call anything “ESG”. For example, take a look at the top ten holdings of two funds, one a basic S&P 500 tracker, the other labeled “Large Cap ESG”, and you will see they have virtually no differences except that the ESG fund costs 40 bp at best and the conventional fund costs 9 bp.

FINSUM: Some people call ESG a pure marketing scam. To some extent that is true as it is pretty easy for fund providers to take advantage of ESG pricing without really doing anything under the hood. But at the same time, there is also genuine interest on the consumer and provider sides to expand opportunities in the space.

Published in Eq: Tech
Wednesday, 30 June 2021 17:54

The ESG Stocks with the Best Returns

(New York)

ESG is a very notable area right now that has been gathering considerable assets. Client demand for such products is high in certain demographics. That said, some reports show that ESG stocks do not perform as well as their conventional peers. With that in mind, here are some of the best ESG stocks that looked primed to do well (and most of them won’t even be recognizable as ESG). The stocks are: Home Depot (HD), PayPal (PYPL), GlaxoSmithKiline (GSK), Equinor (EQNR), Churchill Capital Corp IV (CCIV), Microsoft (MSFT), Unilever (UL).

FINSUM: We love Home Depot here. The fundamentals look good –Millennials, which are the largest generation ever in the US, are entering prime home-buying years—and Home Depot is a leader in social responsibility, with diverse hiring practices.

Published in Eq: Total Market

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Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 27 May 2021 16:32

Why ESG is Making Oil Incredibly Valuable


Environmentally, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) investing is getting all of the attention from both news outlets and traders, but some investors think too much attention is being diverted from fossil fuels. They argue that oil is now a sin stock, where many investors stay away because of the nature of the good (e.g. alcohol, defense, gambling, and tobacco). Sin stocks traditionally outpace the market, under the wisdom that they remain perpetual value stocks because socially conscious investors stay away, and oil ETFs are starting to outperform renewable ETFs. In reality, sin stocks don’t get their boost from value but rather higher operating margins, and oil is one of the most competitive with low to negative margins depending on how far upstream the extraction is. While oil is moving out of environmental favor it isn’t quite a sin stock yet because it also lacks the capital intensity that is common to sin stocks.

FINSUM: There are a lot of reasons to be bullish on oil right now, but being sin stock probably isn’t one. Oil can still be a value play even if that’s not how sin stocks make their name.

Published in Eq: Energy

(New York)

BAML’s chief investment office has put out some comments on how to help position ESG for clients. The ESG sector is plagued by misinformation and vagueness which clouds the overall value proposition. Accordingly, the best way to approach it is to have a matter-of-fact conversation to demystify things. According to BAML, “Advisors find clients are generally looking to avoid certain areas depending on their preferences, or because they have found investments score poorly by ESG metrics; favor investments they think will benefit various social or environmental practices; or help contribute to measurable outcomes around such an initiative”. They continued “It's an opportunity to demystify the conversation and also to keep it in a dialogue, because where we find this goes awry is when anyone feels like there's a moral superiority or mandate going on as opposed to a dialogue around your personal preferences”.

FINSUM: It is easy to get lost in the world of things claiming to be ESG. The best way to approach the sector is to be specific (e.g. I want a portfolio without fossil fuels), or at least specifically vague (I only want to invest in companies with high ESG scores).

Published in Eq: Total Market
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