Investors paying more attention to the S in ESG: Survey

Governance is still tops, but the pandemic has led to more concern about social factors.

About two-thirds of investors agree that the global pandemic has led them to place a higher priority on social factors when analyzing investment risk, according to a survey of attitudes toward ESG investing by Federated Hermes.

Nevertheless, governance still rules, the survey found, with 46% of investors considering it more important than environmental or social considerations when investing.

[More: ESG investing becomes the darling of COVID-19 world]

As part of the study, 90% of financial advisers reported that their clients ask about ESG. The majority of advisers considered responsible investing when making recommendations to their clients, indicating that ESG risk evaluation is becoming a key part of investment programs.

Investors are moving away from negative screening strategies that exclude certain investments, Federated Hermes said. Instead, 64% of high-net-worth investors and 74% of institutions focus on positive screening strategies, which is the inclusion of certain investments based on ESG data.

The survey, conducted in June and early July, included responses from institutional investors, financial advisers and individual investors.

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