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Sustainable and impact investing has reached a new fervor, but with the pressure to prove performance without dramatically impacting costs, successfully implementing ESG factors into client portfolios and investment lineups remains an industry challenge. Asset managers that can provide sustainable and ethically-backed investment performance now have the opportunity to gain a considerable competitive advantage.

 

ESG 360° will use quantitative and qualitative techniques to provide deep, focused insights on the broad term of ESG investing. Exploring one audience per publication, the series will highlight trends and perceptions of ESG among financial advisors, DC plan sponsors, affluent investors, DC plan advisors, DC plan participants and institutional investors. In Q4, the full picture will come into focus with a final report comparing and contrasting findings from each audience to provide the industry’s first 360° view of ESG investing.

Value

The report will enable subscribers to:

Stay on Top of Trends
With bimonthly publication, your firm can stay on top of emerging trends in ESG

Gain a Competitive Advantage
With ESG implementation still nascent, having an in-depth understanding of trends now gives firms a competitive edge


Boost Profitability
By understanding what each audience needs and wants from ESG, your firm can tailor
offerings to boost ROI

Methodology

Six unique audiences:

  • US institutional investors with at least $100M in institutional assets
  • Affluent investors with investable assets of at least $100,000
  • Financial advisors from all channels (RIA,
    national wirehouse, regional, independent
    and bank) with a range of AUM
  • DC plan sponsors representing a variety of
    plan asset sizes
  • DC plan participants actively contributing to
    a DC plan and/or having at least $5,000 in a
    former employer’s DC plan
  • DC plan advisors actively managing DC
    plans, segmented

Quantitative samples range from a representative mix of n=500 to n=4,600

Qualitative sample reflect key demographics with a diverse mix of n=25 to n=50

 

Subscription Details

Publishing bimonthly

Deliverables:

  • Six individual reports (one for each audience) with quantitative data and qualitative insights
  • End-of-year 360° summary report with strategic commentary and analysis weaving together data and insights across all six audiences

Investment: $75,000 (or separately at $15,000 for one audience)

 

 

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Percentage of AUM in DC plans
• Percentage of compensation from DC plans
• Number and size of plans managed
Services provided to DC plan sponsors and participants
• Impact of fee disclosure regulations
• Number of plan providers typically recommended
• Number and type of investment options typically recommended
• QDIA option used most often
• Target date fund recommendation

Areas of Inquiry

Awareness of ESG Investing

  • Current definition of ESG, including top-of-mind associations

Consideration and Appeal

  • Evaluation of key consideration drivers including social responsibility, environmentally-friendly causes, alignment with personal values/organization’s mission, reputation/goodwill, risk management, enhanced performance and tax incentives
  • Influence of each component of ESG in comparison to one another (Environmental vs. Social vs. Governance)

Barriers to Use

  • Ranking of primary barriers to adoption including lack of availability/limited choices, weak demand, inconsistent definitions, time-consuming disclosure requirements, poor investment returns and insufficient ESG data

Current Use and Allocation

  • ESG investing use and likelihood of adoption over the next 12 months
  • Use of specific ESG strategies, including integrating ESG factors into products/ portfolios, using negative/exclusionary screening and employing a sustainability-themed investing approach

Asset Manager Brand Consideration and Satisfaction

  • Asset managers that are most associated with ESG investing (unaided brand consideration)
  • Asset-manager-specific satisfaction ratings for ESG/impact investing options among current brand users

AUDIENCE-SPECIFIC RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
In addition to the overarching set of research questions above, we will
ask audience-specific questions to hone in on the more detailed needs
of each population. Examples include:

  • How does ESG investing impact institutional investors’ fiduciary role?
  • To what degree does news coverage, peers and social media affect affluent investors’ desire to employ a more sustainable, morally
    responsible approach to investing? Eliminate certain holdings?
  • How are financial advisors working to mitigate the pressure of proving ESG performance? Are they making gradual improvements over time?
  • Are 401(k) plan sponsors noticing an uptick in employees advocating for more ESG investment options in current 401(k) plans?
  • How does the availability of ESG investment options influence DC plan participants’ overall workplace satisfaction? Culture?
  • What types of educational materials are needed by DC plan advisors to help advocate for ESG investing among sponsors and participants? Does demand differ by industry?

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