ESG has been the hottest investment subculture of the last 5 years, and greenwashing was largely concerned with investors being skittish, but greenwashing has now metastasized and regulators are watching. Deutsche Bank AG’s asset management team DWS rode the wave as hard as any investment firm but now the U.S. The Department of Justice, the SEC, and Germany's BaFin are looking into the company's ESG claims. Whistleblowers have spurred the investigation and now Asoka Woehermann, the leader of the operation, is coming under pressure. This marks a new and more uncertain future for ESG, one that could have regulators holding a tighter leash over financial firms moving forward. DWS has reiterated they have done nothing wrong or steered investors in the wrong direction.
FINSUM: This is a major test for financial firms and forward-looking tools could be a difference-maker to keep regulators from targeting the next financial firm.
Across the best MBA programs like Wharton, Duke, and Harvard business school there is a surging interest in impact investing and climate finance. In the last nine years there has been a 240% increase in enrolment in electives related to social issues at HBS. Money is flowing into ESG and that is boosting a demand for jobs and salaries, and that is peaking the interest of the rising graduates. 19% of graduate students leaving Stanford Business School are taking jobs in and around social impact. Overall this will shape business for years to come because of the exposure to ESG as it is worked in throughout the curriculum regardless if graduates end up taking final positions related to sustainability.
FINSUM: ESG is still a minority interest among rising MBA grads, and that's because salaries may be on the rise but they still trail overall averages.
There’s a lot of talk about the disruptive power of technology, but what does that mean, exactly? See More
Morgan Stanley acquired custom indexing provider Parametric Portfolio associates in March and are benefiting greatly from the acquisition. Parametric has developed their existing client base by allowing them to pitch a new set of custom-built portfolios and increased AUM by 50% year over year. These custom indexing tools allow investors at Morgan Stanley to build tailored portfolios to meet ESG or tax objectives. On top of this, it furthers client relationships by allowing a more connected investment strategy and personal experience. Parametric is leading the industry in direct indexing by asset size.
FINSUM: Direct indexing will be an incredibly important tool in order to mitigate all of the tax changes in the new administration.
The new age gold rush had investors and hedge funds sprinting to the euro area investing in the carbon market where prices doubled last year, but hedge funds are betting California is the big break. If the U.S. is serious about its climate aspirations then the price of carbon will have to increase and California is already a leading collector in the tax of carbon. There has already been an 85% increase in the price of carbon per ton this year stateside and those tax dollars are funding municipality-related climate initiatives such as wildfire prevention. However, the carbon taxes come at a cost. The higher built-in tax drives up consumer goods prices when inflation is already on the minds of every American. Overall investors like Blackstone see gains coming.
FINSUM: In the long-term, this could be another major global financial market that is centered in the US.