SRI as part of decision-making expected to increase, survey finds

Some 61.8% of SRI investment professionals expect institutional investor acceptance of socially responsible investing and integration of environmental, social and governance in the investment decision process to increase over the next 12 months, according to survey results released Wednesday.

The survey was sponsored by First Affirmative Financial Network, an investment consulting firm.

Among other findings, 35.4% of respondents said private equity and private debt investing together will be the fastest-growing SRI segment over the next 12 months, while 29.2% cited screened investing and ESG integration and 9.9% cited shareholder advocacy.

Also, 47.1% of respondents cited a need for increased client emphasis on impact investing or investing “to make a difference” as the top factor necessary to gain wider acceptance of SRI among institutional investors, while 43.1% cited a need to improve SRI performance.

Other key factors: 31.9% called for a halt to using outdated or limiting terms such as socially responsible; 30.5% suggested putting “more focus on the product and less on the cause”; 24.8%, increased emphasis on shareholder advocacy; and 16.7%, lower fees.

The survey of 264 SRI money managers and other investment professionals was conducted July 31-Aug. 13 by The Hastings Group on behalf of First Affirmative.