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ESG assets top $164 billion in Q2

Assets invested in environmental, social, and governance strategies topped $164 billion as of June 30; the average fund size was $562 million and there were about 290 active funds. While assets have grown nearly 20% since the end of 2015, and 60% since the end of 2012, the number of available funds has decreased from 2015's peak of 324, and has since hovered around 300 total funds.

The investment focus has grown in popularity in recent years as social mindedness has moved more to the forefront of investors' minds and the underlying philosophy shifted to include more objective goals around better long-term investments.

In comparing performance of ESG-focused equities to non-ESG-focused equities, the ESG-screened S&P 500 index has performed in line with the base S&P 500 index since its inception in March of 2009, but has lagged over the trailing three- and five-year periods through August. Three-year standard deviations (risk) between the two indexes has been comparable since the ESG index began.