What's behind the façade?

What's behind the façade?

29-06-2016 | インサイト

Many asset managers claim to do ESG integration. But do they really? It can be a tough call, as the marketing is often stronger than the execution; scores and ratings tell only part of the story; and the confusion over concepts makes it even harder. Here are four questions that can help you get behind the façade.

  • Willem  Schramade
    Willem
    Schramade
    Sustainability & Valuation specialist

Speed read

  • Many asset managers claim to be sustainable
  • However, sometimes it’s more marketing than reality
  • Here are four types of questions to find out how serious your asset manager is about ESG

1. Why does the asset manager integrate ESG?

What’s the conviction behind a fund’s ESG integration? In the absence of a direct answer, try to get a sense of whether it is aimed at better decision making, better risk assessment, better insight into what they own, taking responsibility, or simply pleasing customers. Of course, a poor answer is telling, but also treat a strong answer with extreme caution: it’s easy to spin a good story about lofty ambitions. It’s harder to put them into practice. So dive deeper. What do they really do? How do they do it?

サステナビリティに関する最新の「インサイト」を読む
サステナビリティに関する最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

2. What's the approach?

Most asset managers will have a ready-made answer. But again, the key is to go deeper. At the fund level, typical follow-up questions are:

  • At what stages of the investment process do you find ESG integration most important?
  • What role does materiality play in your assessment of ESG issues?
  • Do you think ESG is about risk only, or upside too? If it is the latter, can you show examples of ESG affecting upside?


Taking it to the group level, you might ask:

  • How do your integration approaches differ across and within asset classes? What’s the common thread? How is the approach adapted to investment needs?
  • How do fundamental and quant-driven approaches to ESG integration complement each other?

3. How does it affect decision making and portfolios?

This question is typically answered by referring to the portfolio’s average sustainability scores and sector exposures. But that’s too easy. First of all, scores do not provide the complete picture. Second, it doesn’t mean that decision making is affected in all stages of the investment process. You should therefore ask questions like:

  • Can they show their logbook?
  • How does ESG analysis affect the analysts’ opinion on industry attractiveness, valuation assumptions and recommendations? What value drivers do they adjust, and how?
  • Do they engage on their holdings? If yes, how and on how many? What are the criteria? Does engagement start before or after investing?

4. How have they experienced ESG integration?

In my experience, the killer questions in distinguishing the really advanced players from the mere marketing facades are the ones that dig into the asset manager’s experience, such as:

  • How long did it take to get seriously ESG integrated? What were the key incentives and impediments? What were the milestones and key events that boosted adoption? What swayed skeptics? What was the role of top management in driving ESG integration?
  • What themes and material ESG issues show up most often in your investment cases? Do you have examples of ESG risks or opportunities materializing much faster than you anticipated?
  • What do your analysts feel about the quality of ESG analysis and information delivered by brokers, ratings agencies, and corporates?


And no, don’t believe them if they say they did not have any problems.

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会