Morningstar, MMI launch “Sustainable Investing Initiative”

Stockholm (NordSIP) A new educational program about ESG investing, the Sustainable Investing Initiative, is being launched by Morningstar together with the New York-based Money Management Institute, it was reported this week.

“This was a natural intersection between our strategic outlooks, and a natural fit for our asset managers who are increasingly generating solutions that are in line with the tenets of sustainable investing,” according to Craig Pfeiffer, President and CEO of the Money Management Institute.

Morningstar, a leading provider of independent investment research, also acquired a 40% ownership stake in Sustainalytics, the leading provider of ESG research and ratings, this week, reflecting its growing commitment to helping investors integrate sustainability considerations into portfolio decisions.

For its part, the Sustainable Investing Initiative will provide online resources and academic content for advisors and their clients, featuring courses from the CFA Institute, the Investment Management Consultants Association, the Principles for Responsible Investment Academy and the US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

At full capacity, the program will be a “multi-channel suite of educational resources, workshops, forums and thought leadership to help advisors gain expertise in ESG investing and foster continuous learning.”

“What’s happened is that there’s plenty of supply in ESG, from the development of ESG-oriented investment alternatives, and there’s plenty of demand – we know from market research that millennials and women now own a greater percentage of assets, and they’re more interested in a disciplined financial process that can make some kind of impact in the world,” says Pfeiffer.

But the focus is more on helping advisors raise the topic with clients and access solutions than building ESG portfolios, he says:

“But there’s a lack of traction because the advisor in the middle either doesn’t fully understand ESG, or they’re not comfortable responding to questions about ESG,” Pfeiffer adds. “We don’t think it’s catching on fast enough to meet the amount of demand from consumers and the number of solutions being provided by asset managers.”

The initiative is underwritten by Eaton Vance affiliate Calvert Research and Management, Merrill Lynch, and Northern Trust Asset Management’s FlexShares ETFs.

“I believe that ESG will persist because it’s sort of like the fiduciary discussion: we can’t go backward. That’s another dimension of investing that’s not going to go away.”

 

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