CFA Society Melbourne

Media Release | Global CFA survey finds nearly 75% of Investment Professionals use ESG Information when making investment decisions

 
 

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Global CFA survey finds nearly 75 per cent of Investment Professionals Use ESG Information When Making Investment Decisions

Survey highlights board accountability, human capital and executive compensation as important issues
 
Sydney, 19 August 2015: The vast majority of investment professionals (73 per cent) worldwide take environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues into consideration in the investment process, according to the CFA Institute ESG Survey (PDF), a new survey of CFA Institute members created by CFA Institute and Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRC Institute). In addition, 64 per cent of survey respondents consider governance issues, 50 per cent consider environmental issues, and 49 per cent consider social issues in investment decisions. Only 27 per cent do not consider ESG issues.

“CFA Institute believes that every investment analyst should be able to identify and properly evaluate investment risks, and ESG issues are a part of this,” said Mr Paul Smith, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute. “Our exam curriculum emphasizes risk management and our members are increasingly interested in continuing education materials on ESG. This survey demonstrates how serious investment professionals are considering these issues and how practice and methodology are evolving”.

“Overall, the survey creates a robust data baseline for investors, companies and ESG data providers,” said Jon Lukomnik, IRRC Institute executive director. “Most importantly, this survey digs deeper than the simple question of: ‘Is ESG important?’ The nuances are important and provide much needed insight on how investors and analysts actually use ESG data and what data is most relevant. For example, the survey findings not only tell us that investors generally want external assurance about ESG data, but also about the preferred level of assurance, and about how much investors are willing to pay for ESG assurances.”

Key survey findings are summarized in ESG Issues in Investing: Investors Debunk the Myths  (PDF) and are highlighted below:

  • Risk evaluation: Sixty-three per cent of survey respondents said they consider ESG in the investment decision making process to help manage investment risks, 44 per cent say that their clients/investors demand it and 38 per cent said ESG performance is a proxy for management quality.
  • Top three issues in decision-making: Survey respondents ranked board accountability, human capital, and executive compensation as the issues most important to investment analysis and decision-making.
  • Regional breakdown: A high proportion of CFA Institute members in the Asia-Pacific region considered ESG issues (78 per cent), followed closely by members in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region (74 per cent). Respondents in the Americas region were the least likely to use ESG information in their decision-making process, but, even there, a solid majority (59 per cent) do use ESG factors.
  • ESG integration in the investment process: Fifty-seven per cent of respondents integrate ESG into the whole investment analysis and decision-making process, while 38 per cent use best-in-class positive alignment; 36 per cent use ESG analysis for exclusionary screening.
  • ESG disclosures: Sixty-one per cent of survey respondents agreed that public companies should be required to report at least annually on a cohesive set of sustainability indicators in accordance with the most up-to-date reporting framework. In addition, 69 per cent of these respondents say ESG disclosures should be subject to independent verification. Furthermore, of these, 44 per cent believe that verification at a high level of assurance, similar to an audit, is necessary. Another 46 per cent believe limited verification, or a lower level of assurance, is necessary. When this group was asked how much should be spent on independent verification, responses varied from 10 per cent to 100 per cent of the cost of an audit of financial statements.  
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    Mr Smith will be speaking on the topic of ‘Building a better investment profession’ at the CFA Societies of Australia Annual Conference in Sydney on 13 October 2015.

    Methodology

  • An online survey was conducted from 26 May to 5 June 2015. Some 1,325 members of CFA Institute who are portfolio managers or research analysts responded to the survey for a response rate of 3 per cent. The margin of error for the survey was +/- 2.7 per cent.
  • Regional Breakdown: 68 per cent from Americas; 21 per cent EMEA; and 11 per cent APAC.
  • Primary Asset Base: 41 per cent primarily deal with institutional clients; 31 per cent private clients; 16 per cent both; and 12 per cent not applicable.
  • These survey results will help inform a new CFA Institute ESG guide for investors, due to be published in late 2015.
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    Webinar
    A webinar is scheduled for Wednesday 26 August 2015 at 10:00 AM ET to review the findings. Register here.

    CFA Institute

    CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. The end goal: to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has over 133,000 members in 151 countries and territories, including 125,500 CFA charterholders and 145 member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org.

    About CFA Societies Australia
    The CFA Societies of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are not-for-profit associations of approximately 2,400 investment professionals; together we represent the three Australian chapters of CFA Institute. Our members are engaged in a wide variety of roles across investment management and advice. Most of our members are holders of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.  For more information, please visit http://www.cfa-australia.com.au/

    Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute
    The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRC Institute) is a nonprofit research organization that funds academic and practitioner research that enables investors, policymakers, and other stakeholders to make data-driven decisions. IRRCi research covers a wide range of topics of interest to investors, is objective, unbiased, and disseminated widely. More information is available at www.irrcinstitute.org.
     
    For further information, please contact:

    Anthony Serhan
    President
    CFA Society Sydney
    T: +61 409 112 146
    E: Anthony.Serhan@morningstar.com
    Sue Morey
    Head of Advocacy
    CFA Societies Australia and New Zealand
    T: +61 409 746 385
    E: advocacy@cfas.org.au