Advisers must change misconceptions of responsible investing: Aus Ethical

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Advisers must do their part in shattering the misconception that responsible investing means reduced returns, according to fund manager Australian Ethical.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday, Australian Ethical chief investment officer David Macri said advisers have a role to play in educating clients about responsible investing.

“Ideally, we’d love to see the question asked to their clients, every time they sit down and do a fact-finding type analysis, ‘what do you think of responsible investing?’ ‘Do you want your investment to align with your values?’” Mr Macri said.

He said the more questions that were asked of advisers, the more awareness this would raise about responsible investing and the better for the industry, for financial markets and for the world.

“We are seeing a lot of demand from advisers, we are seeing a lot of questions being thrown at them, so there is a need for them to come up with a solution,” Mr Macri said.

“We have a sensible, logical rationale that dictates why we are in certain sectors and companies, which then provide peace of mind to the adviser in answering the questions that they are getting from their clients.”

Australian Ethical head of client relationships Leah Waldie said that there had been an increase in the inclusion of ESG or sustainability ratings by data providers and platforms.

“Some are questionable in terms of how they’re constructed, and we may not necessarily always agree with those, but I think it’s a very positive move and it’s showing that there is a growing awareness and need or demand of that from consumers,” Ms Waldie said.

“I agree advisers have a little way to go. It’s not part of their traditional process, but the growth that we’ve seen in adviser numbers for responsible investing is sort of testament to the increase in consumer demand and the increase in demand from advisers to understand more about this space.”

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