Allianz Global Investors published results of a survey covering the opinions of professional and private investors in BeNeLux on ESG

Allianz Global Investors partnered with Nielsen and Core Data research companies to execute private and professional investor research projects for the BeNeLux region specifically. One of the main conclusions from the research was that taking ESG considerations into account is now a central part of the investment process for many professional and private investors in the region.

Investment professionals at private banks, wealth managers and investment companies are judged on their ability to build and maintain investment portfolios that meet the specific investment needs of their clients. If they see ESG factors now being part of investment, this shows that the case for ESG investing has advanced from a minority interest to a central concern for investors. The two surveys we have conducted suggest that professional investors are responding to the demands of private investors who are increasingly interested in sustainable investments.

Key highlights:

  • Belgium and the Netherlands are known for being socially progressive, tolerant societies, and ESG investing fits into this overall set of cultural and social values found in these countries.
  • Professional investors need to be able to respond to the views and outlook of their clients, many of whom are likely to be concerned about issues which are part of the overall ESG agenda, such as:
    • Climate change
    • Recycling
    • Environment
  • Private investors in Belgium and the Netherlands attach strong importance to investments across the sustainability range — including:
    • Clean water
    • Healthcare
    • Avoiding corruption
    • Education
    • Cyber security
  • Investors in the BeNeLux region appreciate the impact ESG investing can have to prevent reputational damage.
  • The survey also clearly flags up that investors requirements from managers are centred around transparent and detailed reporting on ESG matters, within a clear and consistent overall approach to sustainability.
  • In order to implement ESG investing across a range of asset classes, not just actively managed equities, investors want to see standards and guidelines from the investment industry, ESG-related benchmarks, ratings and rankings, as well as engagement activities with underlying investments on ESG matters.

Whilst important steps are being made around more standard reporting is needed and quickly. AllianzGI fully supports these initiatives and as a manager with a long history in sustainable investing is well place to push the agenda here. Perhaps the challenge of tackling climate change will act as a catalyst to help the asset managers in the BeNeLux, and elsewhere, work together on standardising data and analysis to help investors implement their ESG considerations effectively and efficiently.

The professional investor survey comprised interviews with 50 fund selectors or analysts (50%), wealth managers, client relationship managers and other investment team members of private banks, investment companies as well as a number of institutional investors in Belgium (20), Netherlands (20) and Luxembourg (10). Respondents were classified according to those currently allocating to ESG (39 users) and those not allocating to ESG (11 non-users).

The private investor survey took place from November to December 2018.The study surveyed 1,000 private investors over the age of 18 who have at least EUR 200 available for a one-time investment.

The full report will be available at the Sustainable Investing Conference on 3 October 2019 and will be made available after the event.

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