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Impact, ESG Focus Growing Among Asset Owners

Asset owners are continuing to prioritise ESG and impact investing in the face of growing inflation, according to research by independent investment consultancy firm bfinance. The biennial global asset owner survey of 396 senior investors (from institutions responsible for more than US$13 trillion in assets) noted that a quarter of respondents are now engaged in impact investing, with a further third saying they intend to adopt an impact investing strategy in the future. Thirty-two percent said they are reducing their portfolio carbon emissions/intensity, with an additional 34% planning to do so, while 24% are targeting net zero. A third of respondents also said it is “unlikely” that they will hire an asset manager that has not made a net zero commitment, with 21% noting that they are happy to conduct their due diligence of external managers virtually. Forty-eight percent said they are investing in their in-house resources and have increased the number of in-house investment staff over the last three years. However, the majority (87%) nonetheless said they are concerned that ongoing inflation and rising rates will impair their ability to achieve their set investment objectives. Kathryn Saklatvala, Head of Investment Content at bfinance, said: “This has been a fascinating juncture at which to carry out this biennial study. There is now no doubt that we are in a period of secular macroeconomic transition. Institutional investors are evidently concerned about inflation and rising rates, but the looming threat of recession and the steep decline in public markets this year makes the prospective choices very difficult indeed.” 

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