Providing clients with choice includes offering environmental, social and governance investing options, as long as there's demand for such offerings, executives at Fidelity Investments and Amundi U.S. said at an Investment Company Institute Leadership Summit on Wednesday.
"At Fidelity, we don't necessarily take a stand on some of these topics (including ESG)," said Bart Grenier, head of asset management at Fidelity, which managed $4.2 trillion in assets as of March 31. "I think it's really about providing customer choice, and there's a demand for these exposures. So we feel it's incumbent upon ourselves to make sure that we have world-class capabilities to deliver these exposures to our clients."
Lisa M. Jones, head of the Americas, president and CEO of Amundi U.S., which managed $1.9 trillion in assets as of Dec. 31, was more direct in emphasizing the importance of ESG considerations for good risk management.
"Truly, if you think about it from integration perspective, just good risk management and having all of those inputs into your decisions is and has always been ESG integration," Ms. Jones said.
She added that while the issue has become very politicized, "ESG is not going away."
When asked what types of regulatory changes she would like to see, Ms Jones said one of those changes is related to ESG.
"Transparency in regulation around ESG so it becomes less political and more straightforward for all of us just to continue to do and make good investment decisions would be very welcomed," she said.
Ms. Jones also pointed to the SEC's recent swing pricing proposal, noting that while "swing pricing is just what we do" in Europe, "the structure in the United States is nuanced and a bit different, so there are complications to say the least in implementing that."
The proposal, issued in November, requires any open-end fund — other than a money market fund or exchange-traded fund — to use swing pricing, which adjusts a fund's value based on trading activity, so redeeming shareholders bear the costs of transactions, rather than diluting other shareholders.
Several industry leaders have expressed concern that the swing pricing proposal could hurt retirement savers, including ICI President and CEO Eric J. Pan.
Ultimately, Ms. Jones said if swing pricing is set to be implemented in the U.S., then it needs to properly fit into the U.S. framework.