Socially responsible investing is more than avoiding “sin” stocks. It’s about making investments that positively impact our environment, social responsibility, and corporate structures, while also focusing on client risk and return objectives. Also known as environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing, this approach considers the sustainability and societal impact of each investment. Bleakley believes that money can be utilized as a tool, and at our clients’ direction, can be put towards the specific purpose(s) that could improve the future of client designated communities.
As socially responsible investing gains ground, more investment managers are offering ESG-focused investments. For example, clients can achieve their ESG objectives through Bleakley’s use of a Unified Managed Account (“UMA”). The UMA platform can screen out specific stocks or entire sectors based on a checklist of ESG-related factors. This checklist allows the client to establish their own personal ESG policies for their respective account(s). Alternatively, clients can achieve a variety of proactive broad ESG objectives through the use of custodian-designated “socially responsible” mutual funds. Bleakley’s Investment Committee monitors the investment performance of such “socially responsible” mutual funds on a quarterly basis while the ESG criteria within these mutual funds are monitored by the applicable custodian.
Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing has certain risks based on the fact that the criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for non-financial reasons and, therefore, investors may forgo some market opportunities and the universe of investments available will be smaller. The return of an SRI/ESG strategy may be lower than if the advisor made decisions based solely on investment considerations.