ESG Investing  

ESG communication gap between advisers and clients

ESG communication gap between advisers and clients
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Advisers are less optimistic about their clients' understanding of ESG issues than the clients themselves, according to research from Embark.

A November survey from the retirement platform found three in five consumers (62 per cent) were confident their adviser had adequately communicated their options in relation to ESG investments.

But advisers were only confident that an average of two in five (41 per cent) of their clients understood their options on ESG, although 79 per cent of advisers were confident about their ability to consider ESG factors in the investment selection process.

At the same time advised consumers were found to be more confident in understanding their ESG position than unadvised consumers.

Seven in 10 advised consumers (69 per cent) were confident they understood the ESG position in their investment portfolios, compared to a third (33 per cent) of unadvised consumers.

Thomas Rostron, chief executive officer of Horizon by Embark, said: “Whilst the majority of financial advisers are confident of their ability to take ESG considerations into account in the investment selection process, retail investors aren’t quite at the same level of conviction.

“The gap between advised and unadvised consumers is particularly interesting. It suggests that advised investors are benefiting from the knowledge and expertise offered to them.

"The gap between these groups may continue to grow, as advisers develop further resources for explaining ESG within their investment process that unadvised consumers are unlikely to have access to.”

Martin Brown, managing partner at Continuum, said: “Investors, both individuals and institutions, are increasingly looking to put their funds to work where there is scope for a greater good, rather than just financial return.

“There is a growing awareness of ESG within the market, but there still remains a significant gap in both client education and adviser education that needs to be addressed, to fully understand the complexities of this area.”

Figures from the Investment Association showed responsible investment funds saw net flows of £7.1bn in the nine months to September last year, 275 per cent more than the £1.9bn measured in the first three quarters of 2019.

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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