CEFC named Responsible Investment Leader second year running
The CEFC is proud to be named a Responsible Investment Leader by the Responsible Investment Association (RIAA) for the second year in a row. The accolade recognises our commitment to responsible investing and our attributes as an investment manager. In its annual Responsible Investment Benchmark Report, the RIAA reviews the investment practices of 140 financial institutions.
RIAA Media Release
12 September 2022
Australian responsible investment assets hit $1.54 trillion as investment managers agitate for ESG action
The number of Australian assets managed using a rigorous, leading approach to responsible investment has hit a record value of $1.54 trillion, now accounting for 43% of the total market, according to a new study by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
In addition, a record 45% of investment managers are holding companies to account on matters relating to environmental and social issues, and reporting back to investors on the outcomes achieved. This number has more than doubled in the past two years, with only 21% of investment managers engaging in such activity in 2019.
The findings come as part of the latest Responsible Investment Benchmark Report, researched in collaboration with EY. Responsible investment, also known as sustainable or ethical investment, is a broad-based approach to investing which factors in people, society and the environment, along with financial performance, when making and managing investments.
Recent high profile action from shareholders with companies such as AGL shows investors have significant influence in shaping their future direction and strategies on issues such as climate change.
This year’s report found that this approach – also known as corporate engagement – saw the greatest increase out of any responsible investment strategy in 2021. Approximately $726 billion in assets under management is now being used by fund managers to agitate for change on ESG issues, up 54% from 2020.
The study also shows excellence in responsible investment materialises into substantial financial returns.
Products certified under RIAA’s Responsible Investment Certification Program on average outperformed the market in the medium to long term, and over some time frames achieved two or three times the returns. This outperformance is seen both when comparing RIAA certified funds to the overall market, as well as to products of investment managers who self-declare as practising responsible investment.
“This year’s study shows that we’ve hit a tipping point of the responsible investing trend. Companies can no longer tick a box by providing cursory ESG metrics. Investors are expecting real, measurable action towards environmental and social issues,” said Estelle Parker, Executive Manager, Programs at RIAA.
“Investment managers are also getting much better at backing up their claims around the sustainability of their portfolios, as they don’t want to find themselves on the wrong side of tightening greenwashing regulation and scrutiny.
Emma Herd, Climate Change and Sustainability Services Partner at EY said: “Investors are facing more demand and increasing scrutiny on their approach to responsible investment and the market is responding, with more funds being managed responsibly than ever before. As a wave of mandatory reporting and product disclosure regimes come into force, understanding the current state of the market and the range of approaches being adopted by responsible investors is critical.”
Climate change remains a standout focus for investment managers, targeted through negative and positive screening practices as well as a growing number of sustainability-themed loans and investments. An emerging positive screen topic in 2021 was gender diversity and women’s empowerment which jumped in priority from 10th place in 2020 to 6th in 2021.
RIAA’s Benchmark Report is the most comprehensive review of the responsible investment sector in Australia. The 2022 report, the 21st such report, reviewed the investment practices over 2021 of 140 financial institutions.
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) champions responsible investing and a sustainable financial system in Australia and New Zealand. RIAA is dedicated to ensuring capital is aligned with achieving a healthy society, environment and economy. With over 500 members managing more than US$29 trillion in assets globally, RIAA is the largest and most active network of people and organisations engaged in responsible, ethical and impact investing across Australia and New Zealand.
Media release, 2022