Displaying items by tag: esg
According to Sage Advisory in its recently released fourth annual stewardship report, ETF issuers offered much less manager disclosure and transparency regarding their ESG activities compared to their responses in the previous year’s report. The financial firm said that ETF firms had a “distinct change in tone” and “restrained language” in their responses to the survey. The firm attributes the drop in transparency to pending regulation in Europe and from the SEC that would require issuers to define ESG investments more clearly. Regulators are looking to crack down on firms that government agencies believe are overstating their fund’s ESG credentials, also known as greenwashing. The survey covered seven areas of stewardship such as proxy voting, climate and governance, and had a total of 69 questions. Based on its report, the firm believes that fines and proposed regulations could have both positive and negative consequences. The positive is that greenwashing could become less common, while the negative is that a lack of transparency could become an issue.
Finsum:As a result of pending regulations, ETF firms are becoming less transparent regarding their ESG activities.
Direct indexing has recently become a hot topic in the financial industry and for advisors looking to differentiate themselves from the pack, fund giant Vanguard recently identified four situations that they should consider using direct indexing. The first is tax-loss harvesting. For example, when an index is up, some of its holdings can be trading at a loss. An investor in a direct indexing strategy can sell those stocks and create a tax loss that can be used to offset taxes that are due as a result of an overall gain for the index. The firm also lists ESG as another reason. A custom index can be designed to avoid shares of firms involved with fossil fuels. The third situation is factor investing, or investing in companies that have specific factors such as growth, value, or quality. A custom index can be created to meet those criteria. The last situation Vanguard recommends is diversification. A custom index can be built to accommodate an investor that may be required to hold a certain number of shares in his or her employer.
Finsum:According toVanguard, tax-loss harvesting, ESG, factor investing, and diversification are four strategies that advisors should consider when building custom indexes.
According to an analysis by ESG specialist Elisabeth Steyn, U.S. equity funds that are classified as ESG, have on average 29% of their holdings in tech stocks. Steyn told Alice Ross of Financial Times that the figure is well above the 23% average for general equity funds. Ross used the iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF as an example. The fund’s top holdings include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Tesla, and Alphabet. This may help explain why many ESG funds are seeing heavy losses this year. Ross attributed the reason to two factors. First, ESG funds are exclusionary. Once certain areas of the market are stripped out, tech is typically over -represented. The second reason is that ESG rating agencies can differ greatly on which companies are sustainable. That reason alone can help explain why the SEC is going after ESG labeling. Ross also noted that ESG funds outside the U.S. are not typically overweight in tech stocks.
Finsum:U.S. ESG funds are heavily overweight in tech stocks due to differing ESG labels and exclusionary factors.
Ethic, which is an ESG investing fintech that offers direct indexing to investment advisors, has raised $50m in a Series C funding round. Ethic is available to advisors that use the custody services of Fidelity, Charles Schwab, U.S. Bank, Northern Trust, Morgan Stanley, or Pershing. The company offers custom direct indexing portfolios that reflect a client’s values, financial goals, and tax preferences. The firm also offers impact reporting and educational materials. The asset manager, which focuses on socially responsible portfolios, currently has over $2 billion in assets. The latest funding round was led by Jordan Park Group. Other firms involved in the funding round include UBS’s venture arm, UBS Next, and existing investors such as Oak HC/FT, Nyca Partners, Sound Ventures, Urban Innovation Fund, and Kapor Capital. In an announcement, the firm stated that the new capital will “support Ethic’s ambitious growth plans, including expansion into new markets and products, and continued investments in its platform experience.”
Finsum:Direct indexing firm Ethic raised $50 million in a new funding round to expand into new markets and products.
COVID was one thing, but what about reconfiguring the economic landscape?
Among treasurers, the escalating significance of ESG related objectives reflected exactly that, according to gfmag.com.
Today, companies are looking at pressure to adopt ESG principles from stakeholders squarely in the eye, the site continued. The consequence of not embracing, defining and delivering on those initiatives? Potentially allowing the competition to slip through its fingers. And that means more than a diminished reputation or the perception of failing to d the right thing. In the face of market volatility, investments and companies with ESG profiles that rock outdo others, studies show more and more.
Meantime, in light of an uptick in interest among investors in ESG topics, regulators have been burning the midnight oil to come up with consistency and transparency surrounding ESG claims, according to acacompliancegroup.com.
A gaggle of firms also are taking a swing at establishing themselves apart from their peers by committing to, for example, climate and sustainability.
There will be an awareness of the surge in activity related to the FCA on ESG issues among firms with UK operations. Since the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures has come into effect during the past year, the FCA’s created a division to oversee ESG-related issues. It clarified its strategic direction and focus areas for ESG issues.
Tim Rowe, manager in the FCA’s Sustainable Finance Hub, noted that the FCA is laser focused on five “Ts” for its ESG strategy: transparency, trust, tools and transition.