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Do you know about Responsible Investing?
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You can have it all: invest responsibly and profitably
Responsible investing (RI) is one of the fastest growing industry trends, locally and internationally. RI principles can help you develop an investment portfolio that expresses your commitment to social or environmental priorities. While also producing competitive financial returns. The latest studies indicate it’s possible to do both.
The RI trend is also known by other terms, such as ethical or sustainable investing. It reflects the growing demand for investments which contribute to a greater good, from companies that are committed to ethical conduct and accountability.
If RI appeals to you, you’re not alone. The Canada-based Responsible Investment Association (riacanada.ca) reported last year that activity in this market segment has been growing steadily. Retail RI mutual fund assets increased from $11.1 billion to $15.1 billion, up 36% over two years. This upward trend is expected to continue.
To identify investments which match your own values, you face doing lots of research. Because of all the issues you need to consider.
One approach that can help is known as ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. These three key factors can assist you in evaluating the behavior of companies. ESG has become an industry standard for assessing non-financial performance indicators.
The Environmental criteria examines how a business performs as a steward of our natural environment. It includes issues such as resource depletion, carbon emissions, and waste and pollution.
The Social criteria examines how a company supports people. It includes the fairness and equitable treatment that exists in a workplace. Factors such as diversity and employee relations are assessed in this category. It can also include a company’s commitment to supporting the local community.
Governance criteria is focused on issues such as a company’s ethical conduct and accountability. How a corporation polices itself is integral to this.
What constitutes an appropriate set of ESG criteria is subjective. It depends on your personal priorities. Your FORTAX Financial Advisor can help you define your criteria and identify investments worthy of your consideration.
The Responsible Investing Association reports the marketplace is exploding with greater availability and diversity of RI products, both from established firms and newer entrants into this arena. These include RI retail funds and exchange traded funds.
Can these assets offer you good financial returns? Depending on the investment, market performance for a fund that bears a high ESG rating can be impressive. Here’s one example, from investment research firm Morningstar.
For 2020, the firm found that sustainable equity funds, containing companies with high ESG ratings, significantly outperformed traditional funds. Morningstar’s analysis indicates the funds which court less ESG risk have beaten their benchmark indexes more often, and by larger average margins, than funds courting more ESG risk in 2020.
ESG is emerging as a way to evaluate future financial performance. Adherence to these values can be indicators of a well-run company, with effective management practices.
Achieving such a rating requires long-term thinking which could translate into a competitive strength. As well, happier employees are often more productive, enthusiastic ambassadors of their workplace.
Adhering to ESG values can also reduce the risk of certain business practices. Such as the cost and negative publicity from an environmental disaster.
One factor to note is the current lack of widely agreed-upon ESG standards. But with all the activity and those alluring performance indicators, the industry is working on this.
Create an investment portfolio that performs well and also reflects your vision for the future. Your FORTAX Financial Advisor can help you identify RI opportunities that will satisfy your personal and financial goals.
Is it time to talk about your future? Do you have financial questions about your business, family or investments? Call your financial advisor today to set up a virtual or in-person meeting.