From philosophy to SRI
The first socially responsible fund was created 50 years ago. In the 1980s, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment was set up to shift investment practices towards sustainability. In 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices were launched. At this time, the growth of Sustainable Investing was perceptible, but, until the first decade of the 2000s, sustainable finance seemed to develop as a "niche". Moreover, the financial literature was questioning the effect of sustainable investment on return and risk.
The environmental concerns of the 2000s, following the Kyoto Protocol, boosted this new trend. External and political forces promoted Sustainable Responsible Investment (SRI). For example, the United Nations created, in 2006, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
"Sustainable Responsible Investment (SRI) is an investment that aims to reconcile economic performance with social and environmental impact by financing companies and public entities that contribute to sustainable development regardless of their sector of activity. By influencing governance and the behaviour of actors, SRI promotes a responsible economy. "
From SRI to Impact Investing
In last 10 years, sustainable finance has become an unavoidable topic. The driving force behind this acceleration is, on top of regulatory obligations, the pressure from clients/investors (see "ESG, risk and return: a board's-eye view" of KPMG, 2018, for a study of pronouncements and expectations from major institutional investors about ESG).
Over the years, ESG investing has progressed from being an alternative offering to become a mainstream product. Furthermore responsible investment strategies have diversified. The newer strategies seek to generate financial return and to create a positive social or environmental impact. It goes beyond SRI (see "Impact Investing Market Map" of PRI, 2018, for a complete review of evolution).
"Impact investing focuses on business models and the products and services these companies produce. In this sense, impact investing aims to positively impact society beyond ESG-related compliance and investing "
From Impact Investing to New IRR
The study of EY shows a shift from investors to a more rigorous evaluation of ESG criteria: 72 % of respondents said they usually conduct a structured methodical evaluation of nonfinancial disclosures in 2020, against 32% in 2018. The trend is also perceptible in decision-making: 43% of respondents who said that they have made frequent use of nonfinancial performance in investment decision-making in 2020, against 34% in 2018 (see "How will ESG performance shape your future?", from EY, 2020, for the results of survey of 300 institutional investors).
The challenge is to connect nonfinancial disclosures and financial information and to ensure effective collaboration between finance teams and ESG teams. The future of sustainability in investment management for the CFA is to consider impact investing as an additive to investment theory and not a rejection of foundational concepts: Risk / Return (see "Future of Sustainability in Investment Management: From Ideas to Reality" form CFA, 2020, for a complete study of motivations to invest in ESG).
"New IRR is the equation to solve for portfolio managers: An investment strategy combining Impact, Return and Risk, connecting nonfinancial and financial measures and bringing the finance and ESG teams together."
In order to combine Impact, Return and Risk in your investment strategies, you need an integrated information system with sufficient functional richness to develop your most complex investment strategies. AM-DIS is the solution to solve this new IRR equation:
- AM-DIS integrated information system allows you leveraging all financial and non-financial data from various providers, ensuring data quality and consistency.
- AM-DIS calculation engine, which offers no less than 1500 state-of-the-art calculations, allows you defining your objectives to be achieved within your constraints, according to your own criteria.
- AM-DIS integrated platform allows you combining objectives and constraints from the 3 axes simultaneously.
- AM-DIS user-friendly interface allows you quickly simulating your different strategies and easily adjust them at any time.