New white paper provides ESG ‘quickipedia' for advisers


PortfolioMetrix has released an in-depth and informative white paper that summarises for advisers what they need to know in terms of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investment.

Written specifically for financial advisers and planners, ‘ESG in Investing: everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask', provides essential information needed to advise clients on this fast-growing investment option.

Nic Spicer, UK Head of Investments at PortfolioMetrix, says: "There is so much noise about ESG at the moment that it's difficult for advisers and their clients to get a clear idea of how all the pieces of responsible investing fit together. In our view it is crucial advisers have all the facts, chiefly so they can guide their clients to portfolios that match their appetites for responsible investing. It is also very important because regulation is coming imminently that will mean advisers are at risk if they are not properly prepared and equipped to advise on this area.

"Our white paper addresses the key areas of ESG within investment and provides practical information and guidance to help advisers assist their clients through this complex topic."

Key elements of the white paper include:

Acronym and jargon buster: The terminology linked to ESG can be confusing. Various bodies have created their own wording, including The Investment Association, The UN PRI, The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) and The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN). The EU is also working on their own taxonomy. The PortfolioMetrix white paper runs through all the main terminology, explains what it means in plain English and puts it into context of how it fits together and relates to both advisers and clients.

History and size of market: A brief round-up on where we are, how significant this area of investment is and how astonishingly quickly it is growing.

The characteristics of responsible investment: are companies with higher ESG ratings better run? Why caution is needed in making universal assumptions.

How responsible investment portfolios have performed: a review of performance according to peer reviewed academic papers, and what this could mean for the future.

Forthcoming regulation in the advice market: an overview of what advisers will have to shortly comply with, plus a brief toolkit to help advisers prepare.

Spicer says: "Every adviser will need to have meaningful conversations with clients on ESG. How much impact do clients want to have with their investments, and how might those choices affect the long-term performance? What is greenwashing and how to recognise it? These are all elements we cover in our paper and I hope it helps provide clarity for any adviser looking to extend their knowledge in the ESG area."

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