One-in-five Australians say their adviser does not offer ESG

About one in five Australian individual investors say their financial adviser does not offer environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment options while about the same amount said it would sacrifice their returns, according to research.

The global research from Natixis Investment Managers, which surveyed 8,550 individual investors across 24 countries, 400 of which were from Australia, showed about seven-in-10 Australian Investors were not able to access ESG investment options from their adviser.

About the same number of Australians also said fund managers should be actively engaging with companies they invested in and voting on all shares they owned.

Louise Watson, country head of Natixis Investment Managers Australia and New Zealand, said individual investors were increasingly believing ESG investment decision making should involve financial advisers, fund managers and investors themselves.

“Specifically, from Australian respondents, we heard that there is an expectation for fund managers to vote on all the shares they own and employ active engagement with companies they invest in,” Watson said.

“This is another example of how mainstream ESG has become in investing, and its potential for becoming among the most critical decision points for investments, especially when it comes to ensuring the interests of our clients here.”

Globally, about six-in-10 global investors rejected the idea that companies were only responsible for creating value for their shareholders. And about seven-in-10 investors would be more inclined to invest in funds that demonstrated a better carbon footprint.

According to the research, North America now led the world in ESG adoption and it was no longer a phenomenon driven primarily by millennials, women, wealthy and European investors, as it had become more mainstream.

Following the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), 82% of investors believed companies had a responsibility to address social issues, 4% more than the belief that governments should.

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