Square Mile: Adviser interest in responsibly invested funds steps up in Q1

Square Mile reveal four of the top five most viewed funds in its Academy of Funds in Q1 carried a Responsible rating

Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research has revealed four of the top five most viewed funds by advisers in its Academy of Funds in Q1 carried a Responsible rating

Royal London’s Sustainable World Trust fund was the most viewed fund overall in Q1, while First State Asia Focus fund, Unicorn UK Ethical Income fund and First State Greater China Growth fund were all within the top five, along with Artemis Global Select fund, the most viewed fund without a Responsible rating. 

Square Mile said the number of clicks on the Royal London Sustainable Trust had increased by 4.9% on the fourth quarter of 2019.

Looking at the top 30 most viewed funds of the first three months of the year, 12 were ESG, sustainable or responsibly invested.

From a sector breakdown perspective, responsible funds also topped the most viewed lists in 10 Investment Association (IA) peer groups.

Stewart Investors Worldwide Sustainability topped the IA Global sector, Kames Ethical Equity was the most viewed IA UK All Companies sector and Unicorn UK Ethical Income was number one in IA UK Equity Income.

Meanwhile, Kames Ethical Cautious Managed was the most researched in the IA Mixed Investment 20-60% Shares peer group, Liontrust’s Sustainable Future Corporate Bond fund was the most popular with advisers in the IA Stering Corporate Bond sector, First State Asia Focus topped the IA Asia Pacific exc Japan sector,  and Legg Mason’s Clearbridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders fund was number one for IA North American funds.

Finally, Royal London’s Sustainable World Trust was the most viewed in the IA Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares sector, Stewart Investors’ Asia Pacific Leaders was the most researched in the IA Specialist peer group and First State’s China Growth fund was popular in the IA China/Greater China struggling. Trojan Ethical Income was the only viewed fund in the Unclassified sector.

James Glover, COO of research and consulting at Square Mile, said, “The first quarter of 2020 will be forever associated with the outbreak of covid-19, with the global economy being effectively shut down in March and seemingly all market-related news referencing this pandemic.

“Against this backdrop, the performance of responsible funds has proven to be more robust than those without a responsible element within their mandate. When coupled with the significant uptick in interest in responsible investing in general over recent years, it is perhaps not surprising that funds within the Academy of Funds with Responsible ratings were the most viewed over the quarter.”

The top 10 most viewed Responsible Funds are listed below:

Fund Name

  1. Royal London Sustainable World Trust
  2. First State Asia Focus
  3. Unicorn UK Ethical Income
  4. First State Greater China Growth
  5. Stewart Investors Worldwide Sustainability
  6. BNY Mellon Sustainable Global Dynamic Bond
  7. Kames Ethical Equity
  8. Liontrust Sustainable Future Corporate Bond
  9. Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders
  10. Kames Ethical Cautious Managed


Natalie Kenway

Natalie is editor in chief at MA Financial covering ESG Clarity, Portfolio Adviser and International Adviser. She was previously global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist...