by Roger Aitken — This year’s annual WeConvene Extel and UK Sustainable & Finance Association (UKSIF) SRI & Sustainability survey reveals that while almost 40% of asset managers believe sustainability issues have an "important influence on stock prices”, the buy side contends that “only a third” of companies actually take sustainability issues truly seriously in how they operate, and in how they treat investors.
Over 400 investment professionals from thirty countries were canvassed in the 14th and latest Extel SRI & Sustainability survey
, the findings of which were unveiled late this July at an event hosted at Schroders Investment Management in London. They provide a current assessment of socially responsible investing (SRI) in the European investment community.
Voting in these European awards to produce this year’s rankings was undertaken from 21 March to 29 April 2016 and received responses from 154 buy-side institutions and 17 brokerage firms/research houses.
Simon Howard, Chief Executive of UKSIF, which partnered in the awards with WeConvene EXTEL, commenting said: “The awards continue to show the depth and range of capabilities across fund managers, banks and corporates.”
He added: "The range of domiciles and areas of activity evidenced confirm that the key investment issues of our time - such as climate change and corporate governance - are generating a material response from finance, which crosses borders.”
Among other key highlights from the current Extel/UKSIF survey, where all the rankings are based purely on weighted votes from the investment community, Thematic Reviews and Ideas were found to be the “most critical SRI/ESG research service” as far as the buyside is concerned. This was closely followed by stock-specific analysis that incorporates ESG metrics.
Turing to the key rankings in survey, Société Générale repeated its number one ranking from 2015 this year in the leading pan-European Brokerage category, followed in second spot by HSBC (8th last time) and Exane BNP Paribas matching its third place from last year.
Among brokerage firms in the SRI & Sustainability (Corporate Governance) category, Exane BNP Paribas top ranked (3rd last time), followed by Kepler Cheuvreux (1st in 2015) and HSBC in third spot versus 11th last time.
In relation to Investment Individuals, SRI & Sustainability (Corporate Governance), Yohann Terry at Exane BNP Paribas took top spoils. He moves up one place from his second placed ranking last year, followed in runner-up spot by Kepler Cheuvreux’s Sudip Hazra (3rd last time) and Erwan Créhalet of Exane BNP Paribas in third (6th in 20150.
Steve Kelly, Head of Extel in London, reflecting in the wake of the survey stated: “The depth of response from all three sides of the equity investment community makes clear the intrinsic value and importance of sustainability factors in the investment decision process; and in the need to embed these factors into the corporate narrative.”
But he added: “It’s also evident that more can be done, and that investment institutions, banks and companies who truly take sustainability seriously, can deliver genuine value for their clients and stockholders.”
Elsewhere in the survey, Unilever was voted the Leading Corporate firm for SRI/ESG - moving up from third, followed by Repsol (6th last year) and Tullow Oil in the third from 22nd in 2015.
Amundi mirrored its number one ranking from 2015 in the Leading Asset Management firm category for SRI/ESG, followed by Norges Bank Investment (3rd in 2015). Blackrock Investment Management (UK) took top spoils in the leading UK asset management firm category for SRI/ESG.