Survey says pandemic raising sustainable investment awareness
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has raised people’s awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations, causing them to rethink the way they invest, according to a survey by HSBC Asset Management.
Within the next three to five years, half of investors in three Asian markets (the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Singapore) believe their portfolios will comprise 100 percent sustainable investments.
The key drivers for future takeup of ESG investments include products matching risk and return goals, a wider range of ESG investment vehicles and strategies, government incentives and better information on investment performance and ESG issues.
The survey, conducted in January and February, was commissioned by HSBC Asset Management to study attitudes toward sustainable investing among affluent and high-net-worth investors, as well as advisers in Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Singapore and the UK.
Four in five investors believe sustainable, environmental and ethical issues are central to managing their investments — Hong Kong (84 percent), the Chinese mainland (89 percent) and Singapore (80 percent).
Around 65 percent of investors say they do not want to lose out financially when tackling ESG issues, most pronounced among Chinese mainland investors (69 percent). However, only a quarter of their investments explicitly consider ESG factors, and more than half of investors say they do not know how to approach ESG investments.
In parallel, advisers in the three Asian markets say about half of their clients see ESG investments as important. The proportion of those who believe ESG is important to clients increases with firm size.
“Sustainable investing is taking center stage, as the pandemic is accelerating efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Pedro Bastos, HSBC Asset Management’s Asia Pacific chief executive officer.
He added that while awareness of ESG issues has intensified, the survey still reveals a significant gap between investors’ intentions and actions.