A limited number of ESG-focused products is hampering increasingly keen clients taking up specific products, according to a survey of advisers.
In a survey of 100 managers by Rathbones, some 92% felt the small number of suitable products was a barrier to helping their clients invest according to their ESG-beliefs.
A further 83% suggested that they found matching client aims to a specific strategy challenging. The research was conducted at the end of 2019.
Mike Webb, chief executive, Rathbone Unit Trust Management (pictured), said: “There are gaps in ESG strategies and product ranges, suggesting adviser businesses and providers need to work closely together to ensure clients’ values are met with suitable products and services.”
Webb added that the survey “underscores how well advisers recognise the importance of ESG now, and the steep trajectory on which it is set”.
With MiFID II measures set to require advisers ask clients about ESG, every adviser surveyed said they expected the topic to play a more important role over the next five years. Almost half (48%) said it would be ‘significantly’ more important.
Encouragingly, Rathbones found 56% of advisers believed it was already part of the factfind and for some, it was built into their own processes.
While 63% of advisers cited client demand for including ESG in the investment process, almost half (45%) said they felt increased pressure to act because of wider attention given to issues such as climate change.
Interestingly, no advisers said ESG did not play a part in their service to clients, with 80% claiming that being made to incorporate ESG will be a positive development.
However, just over a third (34%) said they needed more support on introducing ESG investing to their clients, with a further 61% citing concerns about their clients’ lack of knowledge on the topic.
“With or without a MiFID II mandate, the study reveals more needs to be done, and advisers are seeking partnership and support, in terms of both knowledge sharing and physical collateral,” Webb added.