Investors Are Positive About Their Responsible Impact

  • 61% of professional investors think they make a tangible, positive impact on society
  • Only 46% believe they have the scope to invest in a way they personally regard as responsible
  • 70% have comprehensive long-term responsible investing policies in place

Responsible investing (RI) and the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria are clearly gaining importance for investors worldwide. As momentum builds, a new survey* (Investor Sentiment: Responsible Investing) commissioned by NN Investment Partners (NN IP) shows that professional investors have confidence in their ability to effect positive change.

The study also shows that only half (46%) believe they have scope within their professional decision-making parameters to invest in a way they personally regard as responsible. In this area, investors in France are the most optimistic, with 65% saying they have such scope, while the least optimistic investors were in Belgium (25%) and Italy (38%).

Overall, seven out of ten (70%) respondents say their organisations have long-term responsible investing policies in place. This was most common in Germany, where 84% of respondents confirmed this, followed by The Netherlands (83%); Italy (81%); France (79%); and Belgium (41%).

Adrie Heinsbroek, Principal Responsible Investment at NN Investment Partners, commented: “It is interesting that while 61% of professional investors acknowledge they are making a positive impact, a smaller proportion (46%) say that this matches their personal responsible investing values. So there is a group of investors who would clearly like to do more if they had the professional scope to do so.

“But it is extremely pleasing and encouraging generally to see that professional investors have so much confidence in their ability to make a positive ESG impact via their investment allocations. We have no doubt that their confidence will only increase over time.

“However, as they continue to evolve their responsible investing policies, professional investors will want confirmation that their investments meet their ESG goals. They will need asset management partners who offer a sophisticated level of ESG integration in their investment processes and can deliver high degrees of transparency in their reporting to show how positive impact is measured.”

The NN IP survey also shows that 70% of respondents expect standards of ESG integration into investment processes will improve over the next few years and 75% believe that contributing to the UN’s SDGs makes a difference. Nearly three in four (73%) believe that international regulations should be changed to incentivise more RI.

The majority of professional investors are confident that the decisions they make today will have a tangible impact on society, with 61% saying this versus just 13% who anticipate negligible or zero impact. The most widely accepted benchmark to measure such impacts is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On a national basis, investors in France (73%), Germany (69%) and the Netherlands (67%) are most likely to believe that their investment decisions have a tangible positive impact, while Belgium scores the lowest (43%).

*NN Investment Partners’ Investor Sentiment: Responsible Investing survey, May 2019. 290 professional investor respondents. Respondents were drawn from five main areas: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium, with a further panel of respondents collected from the UK and Scandinavia.

Source: NN IP

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