ESG Pathway: Giving clarity to clients

Summary of debates and conversations from ESG Pathway webinar held on 4 November

In both the Investment Association presentation and the panel discussion at the third webinar in our ESG Pathway series, one topic was clear: the need for clarity around ESG terminology.

The ESG Pathway webinar series is a joint initiative from Square Mile Investment Consulting & Research and ESG Clarity with the aim of educating and expanding the dialogue between advisers and members of the responsible investment community.

This third session, held on 4 November, opened with an insightful overview from Square Mile’s commercial director, Steve Kenny, who outlined the growing fund flows into ESG – such as PwC’s prediction responsible investing will secure 50% of the retail monies in Europe by 2025 – as well as the growing interest across demographics.

This growth presents challenges; the need for a robust framework, as the Investment Association’s policy specialist and ESG Clarity editorial panellist Jess Foulds explained, and the ever-growing list of potentially confusing terminology.

It was interesting to see answers to the poll question: ‘What descriptor do your clients most relate to when discussing responsible /sustainable investing?’. Respondents were fairly evenly split, with no one term taking a large lead, perhaps underlining the need for definitive terminology.

During the panel chaired by Square Mile senior investment consultant Jake Moeller, 7IM‘s managing director, intermediary Verona Kenny, Schroders head of sustainability Hannah Simons and JP Morgan portfolio manager Amit Mehta discussed how asset managers are embedding ESG in their investments and engaging with companies on their ESG practices.

Again, clarity around terminology was a key theme, with 81% of delegates responding to the poll question during this session that they do not feel there is enough clarity on the responsible and sustainable objectives of fund products.

With efforts towards standardisation clear from all the speakers and panellists, it will be exciting to see how advisers will be speaking about ESG with their clients in the near future, and how clear advisers feel managers’ communication about their responsible processes will become.

A replay of the event can be found here.

The next ESG Pathway webinar will be held on 8 December at 10am where we will be exploring what lies in store for the future of sustainable investing.

To view the full agenda and register, click here.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha was global editor at ESG Clarity, part of Mark Allen Financial, and a financial journalist for seven years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of the Year...