Fund managers, wealth managers and even some advice firms display logos on their websites and in their email signatures that highlight the host of ESG-linked initiatives of which they are signatories.

Advisers may recognise names such as Finance for Biodiversity and the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, for example, which have been used to demonstrate a commitment to particular causes.

If investment impact matters to clients, advisers must ensure these outcomes are achieved on top of investment returns. But should advisers give credence to these impact initiatives when choosing an asset manager or fund? Or are the schemes little more than a way for marketing teams to pay lip service to clients’ interests?

The answer depends on whether the initiatives correspond to a positive impact, which varies considerably, according to a new report from impact investment consultancy Worthstone.

The report assigns an impact rating to fund managers signed up to any one of 28 major investment initiatives and compares them with a universe of more than 100 sustainable asset managers.

Worthstone determines its impact ratings by mapping underlying company revenues against the investable UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as climate action, and clean water and sanitation. This analysis is combined with a fund’s exposure to harmful stocks and the managers’ level of engagement with the strategy’s underlying companies.

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