Advisers, open your eyes before clients demand it
Since its founding 35 years ago, Australian Ethical has been at the forefront of responsible investing. The firm was an ESG investor before ESG became the buzzword it is today. In 2020, AE’s experience and approach came to the fore, with assets under management doubling on the back of strong investment performance and positive impacts.
In 2021, it launched the ‘Open Your Eyes’ campaign, which sought to understand what had driven its diverse range of investors and superannuation fund members to ethical investing. “Blown away” is how AE describes the response, which delivers a powerful wakeup call to the financial advice industry.
COP26 is dominating headlines for a simple reason: climate change is at the front of mind for a growing range of people. In fact, of the 1,200 responses to their survey, 1,099 noted climate change as one of the issues about which they were most passionate. Renewable energy and clean oceans were not far behind, but the message was loud and clear.
“It’s the only story that really matters in the next few decades and if you’re not discussing it with your clients now, they may start telling it to you,” is AE’s message in the recently launched Adviser Toolkit.
“Climate defeatism,” or “doomism,” is among the most common reasons that advisers and investors alike struggle to take the first steps to have an impact, thinking the task is too large and that their impact is too small. Similarly, one of the most common reactions is to simply make your money, and donate it to a cause that is important to you.
Yet with the trillions of dollar of private investment to be unleashed in the years to come it is clear that both investment returns and investment “impact” will be intertwined. The Adviser Toolkit has been built to assist advisers in answering those challenging questions and delving into not only the risk profiles of the clients they support, but also their ethical and personal values, to understand how their investments can be used to support them.
The toolkit culminates in an industry-first, responsible investing masterclass titled “Investing for a Better World.” The thought leadership series will be delivered virtually over three separate days in an effort to provide advisers with the tools and knowledge to have sometimes difficult, but ultimately engaging, conversations with clients.
It will cover the role of data and benchmarking in measuring both ESG and other impacts, along with the manner in which carbon intensity of portfolios can be compared. The sessions will draw on both domestic and global leaders in ethical and responsible investing, offering insight into the most powerful trends and themes with a focus on moving beyond the ‘business as usual’ approach that has seen nearly every manager claim to be “ESG-focused.”
Finally, two thought leaders from outside the financial industry will offer an insight into the power of the media and storytelling when dealing with consumers and clients, culminating with a panel of financial advisers and asset consultants who will provide real world experience.
For those interested in attending, please register here.