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Satisfying client interest in sustainable investing

Earn CE credits with the new ESG Fundamentals for Advisors course.  

As the world confronts a list of challenging issues – climate change, military conflict, defending human rights – and guarding against other potential risks to our society and economy, sustainable investing offers a responsible, wealth-generating alternative that can help reduce the harms that such issues represent.  

Today, sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing represents a significant share of the investment opportunity space that investors can use to achieve their financial goals in a responsible way. In 2020, 62 per cent of professionally managed assets in Canada were categorized as responsible investments,1 and there is potential for that number to increase. 

And, while sustainable investing once carried the stigma of potentially sacrificing financial returns for making a positive impact, research suggests that it can actually lead to better long-term financial performance.2  

Client service 

Although advisors are more likely than a typical investor to be familiar with the concepts, strategies and financial performance that underpin sustainable investments, gaining a deeper knowledge of the subject is a practical way to prepare for client inquiries. A 2021 survey found that 77 per cent of respondents said they’re interested in sustainable investing and wanted more information about it to come from their advisor.3 This high proportion shouldn’t be too surprising, since ESG investing has grown in popularity over recent decades.  

Considering the varied components of ESG, there may be a limited comprehension of what it represents when it comes to understanding an investor’s personal values, tolerance for risk and preference for achieving their financial goals through helpful rather than harmful investments.  

To help advisors better understand the nuances of ESG and talk to their clients about the topic, a team of experts at Manulife Investment Management has created a two-part online course entitled ESG Fundamentals for Advisors, now available in the Manulife Continuing Education (CE) Centre. The course is designed with two main objectives: to educate advisors about ESG and sustainable investing, and, to help them prepare to have deeper, more informed conversations about it with their clients.  

Part 1 covers a variety of factors, including:  

  • The history and fundamentals of sustainable investing.
  • How investors can adopt sustainable investment strategies. 
  • Financial materiality. Systemic ESG risks.

Part 2 offers other insights into: 

  • ESG history, growth, and trends.
  • What ESG can mean to investors today.
  • ESG and lower environmental risk.
  • The sustainability ecosystem.
  • The concept and role of stewardship, and more. 

Along with explaining some essential concepts, definitions, key terms and approaches, the interactive course uses brief video tutorials, quizzes and content summaries to keep advisors engaged and learning as they go.  

Here’s an excerpt of the content the course offers in a section related to client interests.

Excerpt from new CE Centre course on ESG and Sustainability

Completing both parts of the course qualifies for two CE credits. And although completing part 1 of the series is not a mandatory prerequisite to part 2, it’s encouraged, since they were designed in combination to generate an understanding and appreciation of ESG and its importance to the field of investment management. 

Aligning values and goals 

As trends indicate, more people want to participate in generating solutions for the future instead of prolonging the problems. Therefore, increasing numbers of clients are likely to express interest in aligning their personal financial goals with their ethical values. Advisors who take the time to learn more about the opportunities and risk mitigation strategies offered by sustainable investing could be at an advantage when it comes to building client portfolios that are geared for long-term growth in a responsible and sustainable way.  

Access and information 

Register for the ESG Fundamentals for Advisors course here.  Access more information and resources on sustainability here.  

Fund Compare tool – an advisor asset 

Manulife Investment Management has launched an exciting online tool that enables anyone to perform side-by-side comparisons of thousands of mutual funds and ETFs, including ESG, sustainable and responsible funds. 

Advisors can use Fund Compare to conveniently evaluate up to five funds at a time from a vast list of firms, and across a range of performance and risk metrics. The data is managed by Morningstar, one of the most powerful data engines available – but presented clearly with the aid of interactive data visualizations. Advisors can run and save unlimited comparisons, and then easily share the insights directly with their clients.  

 Try Fund Compare today.  

1 Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020

2 Global Sustainable Fund Flows Report

3 2022 Canadian RI Trends Report

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