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Asset managers believe the only way is ethics

Asset managers believe the only way is ethics

Asset managers at First State Investments believe that considering environmental social and governance goals leads to better investment decisions, a study has shown.

The group, which is marking the 10-year anniversary of signing up to the Principles for Responsible Investment, asked its investment professionals their views on sustainability and ESG.

According to the study, 80 per cent believed that considering ESG issues leads to more complete analyses and better-informed investment decisions. 

Nine out of 10 employees believed that effective stewardship can positively influence company behaviour and returns.

“First State Investments has put responsible investment and stewardship at the heart of our business, and it is pleasing to see that staff across our organisation are highly engaged and see it as intrinsic to our business culture and long-term success,” said Mark Lazberger, chief executive officer.

“The feedback and insights we have received from our staff as well as from our clients are instrumental in ensuring we continue to challenge ourselves and further improve our business.”   

The report also gave a snapshot of First State’s diversity, but this showed that only 22 per cent of its investment professionals are women, though 30 per cent of new starters in investment teams are female, suggesting that this figure could rise.

“Promoting diversity is not a quick fix, it is a challenge and we are committed to stay the course,” Mr Lazberger said.

 “I think it's fair to say that these findings don't come as a complete shock,” said wealth manager Philippa Gee. “The core values of focusing on ESG have their obvious benefit, however not all investors are focused on that particular area as a key investment priority.”

rosie.murray-west@ft.com