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State Street Releases New ESG Thought Leadership and a ‘Values Discovery Tool’ to Help Advisors Reframe the ESG Conversation

Company Release - 10/2/2018 10:00 AM ET

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- State Street Global Advisors, the asset management business of State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT), today released a new report, detailing how advisors can overcome the key challenges slowing the adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategies. To coincide with the release of the report, State Street’s Center for Applied Research (CAR) released a new values discovery benchmarking tool that is designed to help gauge an individual investor’s level of interest and commitment to various ESG issues.

The report, Aim Higher: Helping Investors Move from Ambition to Action with ESG Investment Approaches, reveals 59 percent1 of all individual investors believe that it is important to invest in companies that are trying to make the world better for the next generation, and 51 percent2 of all investors who haven’t incorporated ESG strategies into their portfolio want their advisor to speak to them about ESG investing.

“Advisors are uniquely positioned to be a change agent in mainstreaming ESG investing,” said Brie Williams, head of Practice Management at State Street Global Advisors. “Growing investor demand for ESG strategies has sparked a surge in product development and fueled the need for better guidance and advice.”

With 50 percent3 of ESG investors planning to increase the degree to which they incorporate ESG in their portfolio in the next three years, and 23 percent4 of non-ESG investors planning to add ESG, the report provides advisors with a clear path for overcoming the following three hurdles:

  • Confusion around investment performance parity: ESG is not just a “do good” mentality
    60% of ESG investors cite lower volatility and 54% cite lower downside risk as important reasons for incorporating ESG into their investment process.5 This sentiment is backed by sensible economic intuition when considered from a risk management perspective, as investments that ignore ESG factors miss capturing information beyond financial statements that could indicate higher risk exposure.
  • The need for transparency: Better data for clearer outcomes
    Significant progress has been made in the number of companies disclosing ESG data and the push for standardization of reporting across companies will help provide even greater transparency. In the meantime, improved reporting can help advisors be proactive with their communications and more responsive to specific client inquiries.
  • Choice overload: Investors need help defining goals and choosing solutions
    Investors’ need for advice in navigating a large and growing set of ESG options presents an opportunity for advisors to provide value in a meaningful way. Carefully defining objectives to identify the right ESG strategies and investment vehicles will help clients achieve success in more ways.

To help advance a dialogue about ESG, State Street’s CAR team developed an online values discovery questionnaire intended to measure an individual investor’s level of interest and overall commitment to various ESG issue groups and provide a benchmark against other individual investors based on their wealth and region. The tool is based on an online questionnaire featuring fifteen questions on ESG issues and investments that will help investors and their advisors better understand what is most important to clients beyond their financial goals.

“Over the past several years, interest in ESG strategies have grown at a rapid pace, but like anything that grows too fast, it can inevitably lead to information overload and confusion,” says Mirtha Kastrapeli, global head of research for the Center for Applied Research. “Our aim with this tool is to help investors cut through the noise and determine what issues are most important to them. Personally we believe that having this clarity will help drive new and more productive conversations around ESG.”

A copy of Aim Higher can be downloaded here and to check out State Street’s Value Discovery Tool visit the page here.

About State Street
State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT) is one of the world's leading providers of financial services to institutional investors, including investment servicing, investment management and investment research and trading. With $33.90 trillion in assets under custody and administration and $2.70 trillion* in assets under management as of June 30, 2018, State Street operates in more than 100 geographic markets worldwide, including the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. For more information, visit State Street’s website at www.statestreet.com.

*This figure is presented as of June 30, 2018 and includes approximately $53 billion of assets with respect to SPDR products for which State Street Global Advisors Funds Distributors, LLC (SSGA FD) acts solely as the marketing agent. SSGA FD and State Street Global Advisors are affiliated.

©2018 State Street Corporation - All Rights Reserved

The whole or any part of this report may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted, or any of its contents disclosed to third parties without State Street’s express written consent.

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The material presented herein is for informational purposes only. The views expressed herein are subject to change based on market and other conditions and factors. The opinions expressed herein reflect general perspectives and information and are not tailored to specific requirements, circumstances and / or investment philosophies.

Expiration Date: September 30, 2019
©2018 State Street Corporation - All Rights Reserved
State Street Corporation, One Lincoln St, Boston MA 02111

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1 State Street Global Advisors, Transformative Power of Philanthropy, 2016
2 State Street Center for Applied Research Survey of Retail Investors, December 2016
3 ibid
4 ibid
5 ibid

State Street
Brendan Paul, +1 617-662-2903
BPaul2@StateStreet.com
@StateStreet

Source: State Street Corporation