AS PEOPLE’S INTEREST IN socially responsible investing grows, mutual fund and exchange-traded fund issuers are introducing more investment vehicles to allow people to align their dollars with their values.
Among the $46.6 trillion of U.S. professionally managed assets at the end of 2017, $12 trillion – roughly 26% – was earmarked for sustainable investing, according to data from US SIF.
With money pouring into environment, social and governance investing, commonly referred to as ESG, it’s easy to see why money managers want a slice of those assets. While there are a number of sustainable investment funds with long track records doing ESG investing, there are a number of upstarts which may or may not know how to use data properly.
Similar to consumer products that are marketed as “green,” a little whitewashing or “greenwashing” could occur with investing, too.
Will Oulton, global head of responsible investment at First State Investments in London, says he doesn’t think fund companies are purposefully misleading investors, but “there’s a danger that the marketing departments get over-excited looking at the trends in the market and interest in this topic and then try to take advantage of that. That worries us as an organization because investors could lose confidence in sustainable finance.”
Market participants say like any other investment, people should do their due diligence and new tools make it easier for investors to double check the fund’s goal in building an ESG investment portfolio.
Here are few things to learn when it comes to investing strategies with sustainability in mind:
- This is a newer investing concept.
- Investors should do their homework.
- Stick with ESG funds