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As Senate passes mega climate bill, investors ‘must embrace ESG’

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The U.S. Senate’s passing of a sweeping $430 billion bill over the weekend to help fight climate change underscores why “every investor needs exposure” to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments to build wealth over the long-term, a leading independent financial advisor said.

A marathon 27-hour weekend session of debate in the Senate approved legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act by a 51-50 party-line vote. It now goes to the House of Representatives for a vote, probably on Friday, and is expected to pass.

“This bill is a game-changer. It supports our prediction made at the very start of 2020 that ESG is the investment megatrend of the decade,” said Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group.

“The legislation, which is designed to reduce carbon emissions and move consumers to cleaner energy, amongst other factors such as cutting prescription drug costs for the elderly, will shift the world’s largest economy forever towards a greener future.

“Global ESG assets are on track to exceed $53 trln by 2025, according to Bloomberg Intelligence, representing more than a third of all assets under management.

“Now, due to the momentum that will be created from this landmark bill, we expect ESG assets to take an even greater proportion of the $140.5 trln in projected total assets under management,” said Green, a long-term advocate of impactful investing.

Before the start of the new decade, most investors considered ESG investments as ‘woke’ but this has now changed, according to the deVere boss.

“These investments cannot any longer be dismissed as woke or whimsical.

“In fact, every investment portfolio should have exposure to ESG if the investor is serious about building long-term wealth.”

Robust ESG credentials

Funds investing in entities with robust ESG credentials have outperformed their benchmarks over recent years.

“From a risk management point of view, including these companies in your portfolio is, clearly, a sensible decision to take,” said Green.

In addition, they typically deliver a legitimate diversification tool which is how investors “can seize opportunities and mitigate risk, especially during periods of higher volatility,” he explained, adding that ESG represents a revolution of investment strategy itself.

“A seismic shift has occurred in corporate behaviour. How companies approach ESG factors and the value they place on them compared to other considerations has already changed forever.”

Another key reason why investors should now include ESG elements in their portfolios is the growing global regulatory scrutiny of ESG investing.

This will give even greater confidence to traditionally cautious institutional investors, who can be expected to further pile in, bringing with them huge levels of capital and expertise.

“Investors and the wider public need unambiguous information about how firms are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and how they are managing – or not – environmental challenges internally. This can only happen through compulsory disclosure in the public domain,” said Green.

Ahead of COP26 last year, deVere became one of 18 founding signatories of the UN-backed Net Zero initiative, the international alliance of finance powerhouses that will help accelerate the transition to a net-zero financial system. Its membership means it is committed to aligning all relevant products and services to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050 and to set meaningful interim targets for 2025.

“The case for having ESG exposure in an investment portfolio is unquestionable,” the deVere CEO added.

“The three pillars of ESG are already embedded in the global economy as this is only set to grow in the years to come.

“Investors should be embracing the concept of having early advantage of this undeniable megatrend to create and grow their future wealth,” he concluded.