HK investors put ethics before gain

Most Hong Kong investors are unwilling to seek profits ahead of personal values, according to Schroders’ research.

A global investor study by Schroders found that around three-quarters (73%) of Hong Kong investors refuse to compromise on their personal beliefs when investing, even if higher returns were on offer.

“The results of this year’s survey are clear – returns are not the only influence of investment decisions. People want their values reflected in the way they invest. People are increasingly looking to contribute to a more sustainable society through their investments” said Hannah Simons, head of sustainability strategy in a statement.

The findings are part of the Schroders Global Investor Study 2020, which canvassed the views of more than 23,000 investors from 32 locations around the world, including 500 of them in Hong Kong, between 30 April and 15 June this year.

“Sustainability does not have to come at the expense of performance and it is promising to see this manifesting more strongly each year in the data,” said Simon.

However, it seems that the more financially knowledgeable the investor, the more likely they are to be willing to forgo their personal values.

Over one-third of Hong Kong investors (37%) who rate their investment knowledge as “expert or advanced’” are more likely to invest against their beliefs, whereas “beginner or rudimentary” (20%) and ‘intermediate’ (25%) are less likely to pick higher returns if these came at the expense of their personal beliefs, according to the survey.

“Communication is key if investors are to understand what sustainable investing really means and what this looks like in their portfolios, and this is a core focus for us.”

Schroders commissioned Raconteur to conduct an independent online study of people who will be investing at least €10,000 ($11,819) (or the equivalent) in the next 12 months and who have made changes to their investments within the last 10 years.

Another Schroders survey published in September found that about 89% of Hong Kong investors indicated that they wanted more information to reassure that their investments are sustainable.

Schroders is nearing complete integration of ESG across its entire portfolio of assets and is now in the process of understanding and measuring the impact of their investments, according to a report published by FSA’s sister publication, ESG Clarity.

Source: Schroders