Insights

Insights

March 2021

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in 2021

The last year has taught us many things, one of which is that ESG-related investing is here to stay. Fund Managers, Superannuation Funds and Investment Managers have all hired people into sustainability and corporate governance roles if they didn’t already exist, and pressure from investors is getting stronger to ensure that investments are sustainable. In recent months we’ve seen individual customers demanding more of their Super Funds and a generational shift in attitude towards investment policies. As we prepare globally for a huge intergenerational transfer of wealth in the realm of $30 trillion, millennials are making their concerns heard, and wanting them to be reflected in the way they invest. Furthermore, late last year it was found that the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework, first released in 2017, had become the most common benchmark for companies reporting in high-risk sectors.

Citizens around the world are becoming more conscious of ESG-related issues, but that does not always translate to big business feeling or acting the same way. Demanding more of funds and the big firms they invest in, is a clever way of making changes to the way business is done. But this seismic shift in the way we collectively manage our investments makes sense for companies, too. Analysis by Fidelity International concluded that during the pandemic crisis of 2020, firms with high sustainability ratings outperformed those with lower ratings. The pandemic accelerated pressure on business regarding ethical investments, and as investment in sectors such as healthcare increased as a result of Covid-19, a shift took place in the way firms conducted business and the demands on these firms from their customers. Fidelity mentioned a specific focus on the ‘S’ of ESG. After Covid-19 swept the globe, companies needed to focus on their people and “the societal responsibility of businesses in a global crisis”. This ESG-focused trend is being seen globally. The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business recently reported that “we’ve seen an exponential increase in ESG and impact investing as evidence builds that business strategy focused on material ESG issues goes hand-in-hand with high-quality management teams and improved returns.”

So this is good news for the planet, our collective conscience and for business. So where to from here? UBS recently stated they believed to see “increased targeted investment in the areas of climate, resource scarcity, diversity, food and agriculture, and healthcare, among others, as society rebuilds post-pandemic and investors seek return opportunities through solutions to these large-scale challenges.” Super Funds are all over the financial services news of late, making big changes to the way they’re conducting business. Just last week Cbus Super awarded a $240 million mandate to UK group Impax Asset Management that will focus on sustainable investing opportunities and protecting the savings of its members from climate risk. Cbus has also pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This is the post-pandemic megatrend of 2021 and we expect to see this pressure on investment firms and funds to continue across the industry this year and beyond.

Citi launches Sydney wealth hub

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in News

InvestorDaily

The multinational banking group has expanded its presence in the Australian wealth management market, opening a Sydney centre for high-net-worth clients. In a statement, Citi said it had opened a “wealth hub” within its Sydney CBD banking offices that was “designed to be a holistic knowledge sharing space” for high-net-worth clients. The group’s head of banking and wealth distribution Gofran Chowdhury said Citi had reconfigured the way it was engaging with this client group to deliver a more personalised experience, following the closure of its remaining physical bank branch in Australia in February.

“While 95 per cent of Citi’s banking interactions have been happening outside of branches for a number of years, our high-net-worth customers still value face to face interactions,” Mr Chowdhury said. “As a result, we’ve built a tailor-made space where we can deliver a strong level of personal engagement for these clients as we work together to provide investment guidance and manage their wealth.” Mr Chowdhury said following the establishment of a similar wealth hub for Melbourne clients in 2019, Citi’s assets under management had risen 12 per cent and the number of transactions the bank was processing for clients had doubled.

The rest of this article can be found at investordaily.com.au.

Bennelong rolls out senior appointment

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Funds Management News

InvestorDaily

Bennelong Funds Management has appointed a new chief client strategy officer with “in-depth knowledge of funds management and financial policy”. Amara Haqqani will step into the newly created role of chief client strategy officer at Bennelong. Ms Haqqani will be based in Sydney and report to chief executive Craig Bingham. “The traditional client profile is changing, and we’re working in a more nuanced and complex environment. It’s critical that we adapt and build solutions to meet those changing clients’ needs to ensure we remain relevant to our clients into the future,” Mr Bingham said.

“Amara’s extensive experience and passion for customer-centricity is the perfect fit for Bennelong in our ongoing commitment to put our clients at the heart of everything we do.” Ms Haqqani was most recently a director for consulting firm Milliman, prior to which she held senior policy and compliance roles at the Financial Services Council, Challenger Limited and RBC Global Asset Management. She has also held roles at Equity Trustees, Orchard and Aviva.

Aus Ethical sets sights for domination

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in News

InvestorDaily

The ethical wealth group has set the ambitious goal of becoming one of Australia’s largest investment managers by the end of the decade, as it is looks to shake up its asset allocation and technology capabilities. Australian Ethical has signalled an incoming revamp to its asset management, to result from an external review, as it has also hired a new head for the division. John Woods has jumped ship from MLC, where he was a portfolio manager, to take the role of head of asset allocation at Australian Ethical.

The new job will see him take responsibility for the group’s balanced fund and overall strategic allocation process. Mr Woods’ appointment has followed the recent promotion of former equity analyst Mike Murray to head of domestic equities. The group also recently enlisted start-up asset manager Alpha Vista, to conduct a review of its asset allocation governance framework.

Super funds in rapid transition to ESG

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Funds Management News

InvestorDaily

Investment managers are being asked by major super funds to work towards making their portfolios carbon-neutral by as soon as 30 June this year, according to a boutique fund manager. Speaking at a recent Pritchitt Bland Communications media lunch, Maple-Brown Abbott chief executive and managing director Sophia Rahmani said the group had been directed by a major super fund client to prepare their portfolio for carbon neutrality by the end of financial year. “One of our super clients, which I know has happened to lots of super funds, has said by 30 June, we need a plan on how we’re going to transition over the next three years to being carbon neutral,” Ms Rahmani said.

“They’ve said let’s work through that because we don’t quite know what our board wants us to do. But just like that it’s going to turn into an ESG portfolio, and that’s a board directive from that super fund.” 4D Infrastructure chief investment officer Sarah Shaw agreed that many super funds were rapidly moving towards carbon neutrality across their entire portfolio if they had not done so already. “You can have stocks that are carbon emitters but they have to be offset by other stocks that are taking carbon out across the portfolio,” Ms Shaw said.

The rest of this article can be found at investordaily.com.au.

Impax secures Cbus $240m climate equity mandate

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on . Posted in Funds Management News

InvestorDaily

James Crawford, head of equity portfolio construction at Cbus commented all portfolio companies within the Impax Climate Strategy are aligned with the Paris Agreement, “positioned to provide significant net CO2 savings”. Jon Forster, senior portfolio manager at Impax added asset owners are “increasingly prioritising climate change mitigation and considering climate risk in their investment decisions”. “The Impax Climate Strategy responds to that need, but also to our belief that there are considerable investable opportunities as society adapts to the consequences of climate change,” Mr Forster said.

The rest of this article can be found at investordaily.com.au.

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