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Sustainable Investing
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octubre 26, 2020
4 Steps to Sustainable Investing
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octubre 26, 2020

4 Steps to Sustainable Investing


Sustainable Investing

4 Steps to Sustainable Investing

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octubre 26, 2020

 
 

For institutional asset owners, the case for incorporating sustainable investing into portfolio management is only getting stronger. As the wide-ranging implications of sustainability issues, such as public health, climate change and social justice, become more apparent, so too have they become essential to effectively assessing investment risks and opportunities.

Helping to make the case is evidence showing that incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in portfolios could aid investors in capturing above-market returns. While the coronavirus pandemic induced a global recession and market volatility in the first half of 2020, sustainable funds—across stocks and bonds—in general helped investors weather the period better than many of their traditional peers,* according to a recent study by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. During a longer time horizon, from 2004 to 2018, sustainable funds experienced 20% less downside risk compared with traditional funds*, according to another Institute report, and four in five asset owners agree that sustainable investing may be an effective risk-management strategy and lead to higher profitability.  In addition to financial performance, asset owners see an opportunity to target positive social and environmental impact, avoid reputational risk and comply with regulations.

Nevertheless, building a robust sustainable investing strategy remains an obstacle for many asset owners. Some struggle with insufficient resources and data to operationalize a broad-ranging and ambitious strategy, while others are under pressure to respond quickly to the interests of stakeholders, such as employees, regulators or peers, risking taking a patchwork approach that lacks cohesion and potentially sets up for internal misalignment or reputational harm.

Based on our experience working with diverse asset owners, the Institute for Sustainable Investing and Morgan Stanley Investment Management developed a four-part framework tailored to help asset owners develop, implement and maintain a dynamic sustainable investing strategy.

1. Clarify Your Motivations and Investment Philosophy

Organizations should first define the reasons why they want to integrate sustainability factors into their investment processes. All key internal stakeholders, including senior leadership and investment teams, should be engaged in defining the investment philosophy.

In addition to seeking financial performance, one common motivator comes from asset owners’ constituents, such as retirees seeking to mitigate ESG risks, millennials looking to achieve positive impact through their capital, or regulators requiring greater disclosure and transparency. These stakeholders are often pushing asset owners to demonstrate the ethical, environmental and social attributes of their investments.

2. Identify Your Implementation Approaches

Next, investors can choose the approaches that best reflect their investment philosophy. There are five primary approaches and tools, commonly used in combination with one another:

  • Restriction screening: Avoiding investments in certain sectors or specific issuers, based on values or risk-based criteria.
  • ESG integration: Considering ESG criteria alongside financial analysis to identify risks and opportunities throughout the investment process, which may lead to decisions to avoid, include or size certain investments.
  • Thematic investments: Investing focused on certain themes and sectors positioned to solve global sustainability-related challenges.
  • Impact investing: Allocating to funds or enterprises structured to deliver a specific and measurable set of positive social and/or environmental impacts alongside the potential for market-rate financial returns.
  • Company/issuer engagement: Aiming to drive improvement in ESG activities or outcomes through proxy voting or active dialogue with invested companies/issuers.

Representing a dynamic implementation toolkit, these approaches enable asset owners to tailor their sustainable investing activities by asset class and adjust underlying criteria over time.

3. Define Your Investment Strategy

With an understanding of the different implementation approaches, asset owners can consider how to apply the approaches describe above in their investments and define a time horizon for integrating sustainable investing more broadly across portfolios.

Institutions may opt to first introduce sustainability considerations when existing investment mandates roll over or there’s new cash to invest. They might also consider a dedicated strategy consisting of one or multiple asset classes that mirror the overall asset allocation, which can help build proof-of-concept internally. For example, a dedicated strategy focused on fixed income may seek to explore allocations toward green, social and sustainable bonds.

Achieving total portfolio integration across asset classes and investment teams may require implementation and refinement over many years, as well as a supporting operational and governance approach.

4. Design Your Operational Model

Appropriate governance forms the operational backbone for supporting implementation and for defining, communicating and meeting sustainable investing goals. A typical governance model involves an oversight group comprising any, or all, of these roles: Chief Executive, Chief Investment Officer, Investment Committee, Risk Committee and Board of Directors, often supported by dedicated specialists.

A set of formalized and documented sustainable investing goals – including the use of an annual sustainability report or website – can also help align key stakeholders. Beyond governance and communication, asset owners must identify the needed resources –in terms of employees, skillsets, data and tools – to support a dynamic sustainable investing strategy for the long term.

For more guidelines on crafting a dynamic sustainable investing strategy, see the full report.

 
 

* This is provided for illustrative purposes only and is not meant to depict the performance of a specific investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. See link for more details.

 
 

 

RISK CONSIDERATIONS

There is no assurance that a portfolio will achieve its investment objective. Portfolios are subject to market risk, which is the possibility that the market values of securities owned by the portfolio will decline and that the value of portfolio shares may therefore be less than what you paid for them. Market values can change daily due to economic and other events (e.g. natural disasters, health crises, terrorism, conflicts and social unrest) that affect markets, countries, companies or governments. It is difficult to predict the timing, duration, and potential adverse effects (e.g. portfolio liquidity) of events. 

ESG strategies that incorporate impact investing and/or environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. As a result, there is no assurance ESG strategies could result in more favorable investment performance. In general, equity securities’ values also fluctuate in response to activities specific to a company. Investments in foreign markets entail special risks such as currency, political, economic, and market risks. The risks of investing in emerging market countries are greater than risks associated with investments in foreign developed countries. Fixed income securities are subject to the ability of an issuer to make timely principal and interest payments (credit risk), changes in interest rates (interest-rate risk), the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity (market risk). In a rising interest-rate environment, bond prices may fall and may result in periods of volatility and increased portfolio redemptions. In a declining interest-rate environment, the portfolio may generate less income. Longer-term securities may be more sensitive to interest rate changes. Real estate investments, including real estate investment trusts, are subject to risks similar to those associated with the direct ownership of real estate. 

Alternative investments are speculative, involve a high degree of risk, are highly illiquid, typically have higher fees than other investments, and may engage in the use of leverage, short sales, and derivatives, which may increase the risk of investment loss. These investments are designed for investors who understand and are willing to accept these risks. Performance may be volatile, and an investor could lose all or a substantial portion of its investment.

 
 
 
 

DISTRIBUTION

This communication is only intended for and will only be distributed to persons resident in jurisdictions where such distribution or availability would not be contrary to local laws or regulations.

Ireland: Morgan Stanley Investment Management (Ireland) Limited. Registered Office: The Observatory, 7-11 Sir John Rogerson’s, Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland. Registered in Ireland under company number 616662. Regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. United Kingdom: Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 1981121. Registered Office: 25 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QA, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Dubai: Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited (Representative Office, Unit Precinct 3-7th FloorUnit 701 and 702, Level 7, Gate Precinct Building 3, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, 506501, United Arab Emirates. Telephone: +97 (0)14 709 7158). Germany: Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited Niederlassung Deutschland, Grosse Gallusstrasse 18, 60312 Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Gattung: Zweigniederlassung (FDI) gem. § 53b KWG). Italy: Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited, Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) is a branch of Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited, a company registered in the UK, authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and whose registered office is at 25 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4QA. Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited Milan Branch (Sede Secondaria di Milano) with seat in Palazzo Serbelloni Corso Venezia, 16 20121 Milano, Italy, is registered in Italy with company number and VAT number 08829360968. The Netherlands: Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Rembrandt Tower, 11th Floor Amstelplein 1 1096HA, Netherlands. Telephone: 31 2-0462-1300. Morgan Stanley Investment Management is a branch office of Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited. Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. Switzerland: Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc, London, Zurich Branch Authorised and regulated by the Eidgenössische Finanzmarktaufsicht (“FINMA”). Registered with the Register of Commerce Zurich CHE-115.415.770. Registered Office: Beethovenstrasse 33, 8002 Zurich, Switzerland, Telephone +41 (0) 44 588 1000. Facsimile Fax: +41 (0) 44 588 1074.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

EMEA: This communication has been issued by Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited (“MSIM”). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England No. 1981121. Registered Office: 25 Cabot Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QA. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions, and each investor should evaluate their ability to invest for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Prior to investing, investors should carefully review the strategy’s / product’s relevant offering document. There are important differences in how the strategy is carried out in each of the investment vehicles.

A separately managed account may not be appropriate for all investors. Separate accounts managed according to the Strategy include a number of securities and will not necessarily track the performance of any index. Please consider the investment objectives, risks and fees of the Strategy carefully before investing.

The views and opinions are those of the author or the investment team as of the date of preparation of this material and are subject to change at any time due to market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Furthermore, the views will not be updated or otherwise revised to reflect information that subsequently becomes available or circumstances existing, or changes occurring, after the date of publication. The views expressed do not reflect the opinions of all investment teams at Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) or the views of the firm as a whole, and may not be reflected in all the strategies and products that the Firm offers.

Forecasts and/or estimates provided herein are subject to change and may not actually come to pass. Information regarding expected market returns and market outlooks is based on the research, analysis and opinions of the authors or the investment team. These conclusions are speculative in nature, may not come to pass and are not intended to predict the future performance of any specific Morgan Stanley Investment Management product.

Certain information herein is based on data obtained from third party sources believed to be reliable. However, we have not verified this information, and we make no representations whatsoever as to its accuracy or completeness.

This material is a general communication, which is not impartial and all information provided has been prepared solely for informational and educational purposes and does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or to adopt any specific investment strategy. The information herein has not been based on a consideration of any individual investor circumstances and is not investment advice, nor should it be construed in any way as tax, accounting, legal or regulatory advice. To that end, investors should seek independent legal and financial advice, including advice as to tax consequences, before making any investment decision.

This communication is not a product of Morgan Stanley’s Research Department and should not be regarded as a research recommendation. The information contained herein has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

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Morgan Stanley Investment is the asset management division of Morgan Stanley.

For more information about the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, visit www.morganstanley.com/sustainableinvesting.

For more information on Morgan Stanley Investment Management, visit www.morganstanley.com/im.

 

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