Which asset manager has the most effective ESG communications?

The asset managers with the clearest messaging on ESG


Natalie Kenway

Liontrust and Royal London have topped a list of asset managers with the clearest messaging on ESG, as advisers said they continue to struggle with understanding groups’ policies

Following on from the exclusive research published in ESG Clarity on 30 April, where an adviser survey carried out by Square Mile Investment Consulting and Research found IFAs need better support from asset managers to improve their understanding of ESG, in this piece we explore the asset managers that are doing this well.

Square Mile surveyed advisers over the course of Q1 2020 at 21 events attended by Personal Finance Society members. Of the 184 that responded, Liontrust was by far judged the most effective with a 36% share of the votes.

“This is owing to their sales team being dedicated to ESG, their constant presence at events, as well as their impressive amounts of documentation and literature available on their websites,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Royal London had fewer than half as many votes as Liontrust but was still well ahead of the third place in terms of popularity, with 16% of advisers viewing their message around ESG as the best. Advisers pointed to Royal London’s on their effective sales team, accessibility and literature. 

See below for the full list of asset managers mentioned:

The report also found that when advisers were asked about the kind of support they would like to see from asset managers, a fifth said more consistent use of language would allow them to compare and contrast funds and fund groups more easily.

Advisers flagged need for greater education through literature and events, as well as podcasts, ESG scores in factsheets, risk tolerance information and greater accessibility.

The report said: “A clear theme is around clarity. A combined total of 44% of advisers voted for the standardisation of terms (21%), simplification of language (10%), ESG ratings (8%), client friendly information (4%) and for the need for the industry to stop greenwashing (1%). This clearly highlights the desire the advisers must be more easily able to assess fund information, compare them and relay that information on to clients. Many seek more objective, jargon-free and unambiguous presentation from asset managers or other industry professionals.”

Steve Kenny, commercial director at Square Mile, commented: “The research shows clients are ambivalent and IFAs don’t understand a lot around the ESG theme and that is a worry.

“Groups need to provide clear and sensible information and language as well as their direction of travel on ESG.

“This is going to be the ‘new normal’ for investors, it is a reflection of societal changes.”

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