Displaying items by tag: esg

Friday, 03 March 2023 03:58

Impact of ESG Strategies on Expected Returns

Investors have continued to pile into ESG funds amid a strong political backlash and new regulations, but what impact does ESG have on expected returns? In their book, Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing, Larry Swedroe, and Sam Adams presented the answer to that question from research that included studies from 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. They found that in both U.S. and international markets, ESG strategies’ returns were well explained by their exposures to the Fama-French factors of market, size, profitability, investment, momentum, and value; and multifactor alphas were not significantly different from zero. This indicates that any benefit from incorporating ESG strategies into a portfolio is already captured by other well-defined and known equity factors, meaning investors could not improve their Sharpe ratios by using ESG strategies. They also found that return and risk differences of ESG funds could be significant and were mainly driven by fund-specific criteria rather than by a homogeneous ESG factor. In addition, across four fund categories including index, active, exclusion-based, and non-exclusion based, the majority of observations displayed higher volatility than the broader market. Swedroe and Adams also noted that environmental and social scores did not contribute to performance. However, if investors want to have their cake and eat it too, then they should tilt their portfolios to sustainable firms with exposure to the Fama-French factors of size, investment, profitability, value, and momentum.

Finsum:In their book, Your Essential Guide to Sustainable Investing, Larry Swedroe, and Sam Adams presented evidence that ESG strategies don’t provide any return benefit unless they’re tilted to Fama-French factors of market, size, profitability, investment, and momentum.

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 23 February 2023 04:25

HANetf Enters into The Model Portfolio Space

White-label exchange-traded fund provider HANetf recently launched a range of model portfolios allocating to both in-house and third-party products. The portfolios were launched in collaboration with London-based financial technology firm Algo-Chain. The six portfolios are targeted at financial advisors, wealth managers, private banks, execution-only brokers, robo-advisors, and other money managers who offer ETF portfolios to their clients. HANetf’s balanced, growth, and adventurous model portfolios use ETFs to provide exposure to equities, fixed income, commodities, and alternative assets. Each portfolio provides a different asset allocation, different risk levels, target volatility, and target maximum drawdown. The firm’s ESG growth portfolio is a multi-asset portfolio that invests in impact investing and ESG-themed ETFs. According to HANetf, third-party ETFs are used where appropriate for the first four portfolios. The Future Trends Themed Equity and Digital Assets and Crypto ETP portfolios, on the other hand, allocate exclusively to HANetf funds. The Future Trends Themed Equity portfolio seeks to invest in ETFs that have exposure to the latest megatrends and themes, while the Digital Assets and Crypto model invests in exchange-traded products that give exposure to some of the largest cryptocurrencies, and an ETF with exposure to the blockchain and digital assets sector.

Finsum:White-label ETF provider HANetf launched six model portfolios, including balanced, growth, adventurous, ESG, future trends, and crypto portfolios.

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 23 February 2023 04:14

Do ESG Bond Funds Outperform?

As investors increasingly buy ESG funds, there has also been an increase in academic research on the impact of implementing ESG constraints on equity portfolios. However, there hasn't been as much attention paid to research on ESG fixed-income investing. Inna Zorina and Lux Corlett-Roy published their study “The Hunt for Alpha in ESG Fixed Income: Fund Evidence from Around the World,” in the Fall 2022 issue of The Journal of Impact and ESG Investing. In the study, they examined whether ESG fixed-income funds generate out- or under-performance after controlling for systematic fixed-income factors. They found that while ESG fixed-income funds with a higher level of risk generally produced higher returns, most ESG fixed-income funds did not produce statistically significant positive or negative gross alphas. In fact, only 7% of funds managed to deliver greater returns at a lower level of risk relative to the respective benchmark. The study revealed that across ESG fixed-income funds with a European, U.S., and global focus, performance was mainly driven by systematic fixed-income factor exposures such as term and default risk. The results led Zorina and Corlett-Roy to conclude: “ESG fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs have not consistently delivered statistically significant gross alpha controlling for key fixed-income factors. The majority of alphas are statistically insignificant and therefore indistinguishable from zero. This conclusion is similar across fixed-income funds with a European, US, and Global ESG investment focus.”

Finsum:A recent study that looked into whether fixed-income ESG funds provided outperformance revealed that ESG fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs have not consistently delivered statistically significant gross alpha.

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Tuesday, 21 February 2023 03:06

ESG Funds Cost Three Times More Than You Think

While many investors who care about the environment have piled money into funds that focus on ESG strategies, they probably don’t know how much they are paying. That is according to a new study, which found that “at the average ESG fund, the effective fees can be three times what’s reported.” The reason for this is that ESG funds are nowhere near as pure as they look to be. According to a new Harvard study, on average, ESG funds have 68% of their assets invested in “the exact same” holdings as non-ESG funds. So, for every dollar you invest in an ESG fund, a little less than a third goes into stocks you could have gotten in a fund that isn’t ESG. The average ESG U.S. stock ETF charges 0.17% in annual fees, according to Morningstar, 0.05 percentage points more than non-ESG funds. Finance professor Malcolm Baker of Harvard Business School, one of the study’s authors, said, “Although only about a third of your money in the average ESG fund is distinctly green, you incur the fees on the entire portfolio. Therefore, you’re really paying three times as much for the thing you care about, the differentiated piece of the portfolio.”

Finsum:A recent study found that on average, 68% of holdings in ESG funds are the exact same as holdings in non-ESG funds, which makes these funds three times more expensive than you think.

Published in Wealth Management

Putnam Investments recently announced the availability of Putnam Sustainable Retirement Funds, a target-date series for the retirement savings marketplace. The suite invests in actively managed ESG-focused ETFs managed by Putnam. The funds implement a similar retirement glidepath philosophy as the firm’s other target-date offering, Putnam Retirement Advantage. The series offers vintages for every five years from 2025 through 2065, along with a maturity fund. The Putnam Global Asset Allocation team, which also manages Putnam Retirement Advantage, is responsible for the glidepath and both the tactical and ETF allocations of the Putnam Sustainable Retirement target-date suite. The series was developed in part to respond to the growing interest in sustainable investing within the defined contribution retirement market according to Steven P. McKay, Putnam’s Head of Global Defined Contribution Investment Only. Robert L. Reynolds, President, and Chief Executive Officer, of Putnam Investments, said the following as part of the announcement, “As the retirement marketplace continues to evolve and grow, there is tremendous appetite for meaningful product innovation that creates greater choice of offerings to help working Americans achieve their financial goals.” The funds will invest in ETFs across asset classes managed by the firm, including:


  • Putnam Sustainable Future ETF (NYSE Arca: PFUT)
  • Putnam Sustainable Leaders ETF (NYSE Arca: PLDR)
  • Putnam ESG Core Bond ETF (NYSE Arca: PCRB)
  • Putnam ESG High Yield ETF (NYSE Arca: PHYD)
  • Putnam ESG Ultra Short ETF (NYSE Arca: PULT)
  • Putnam PanAgora ESG Emerging Markets Equity ETF (NYSE Arca: PPEM)
  • Putnam PanAgora ESG International Equity ETF (NYSE Arca: PPIE)

Finsum:Putnam recently announced the availability of Putnam Sustainable Retirement Funds, a target-date series that invests in actively managed ESG-focused ETFs managed by Putnam.

Published in Wealth Management
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