An important and growing part of our practice at The Wooding Group concerns what is known as responsible investing, an approach to making investment decisions based on environment, social and governance (ESG) factors.
Advisor.ca, an authoritative online news source for the wealth advisory industry, recently reported that during the past decade Canada’s responsible investment (RI) industry has experienced explosive growth.
Since 2006, when the RI industry stood at $460 billion in assets under management, participation has skyrocketed to $1.5 trillion by the end of 2015, according to the latest data available from the Responsible Investment Association (RIA).
The 2017 RIA Conference
Lindsay MacPhie, an Investment Advisor and thought leader with The Wooding Group team, is preparing to attend the 2017 RIA Conference, scheduled for June 1st and 2nd at the Hyatt Regency, Vancouver. She will join over 300 delegates from Canada and around the world at what is widely regarded as the premier event in Canada for responsible investment professionals.
During an interview with Advisor.ca, conducted in advance of the conference, Lindsay was quoted as saying:
“The term ‘responsible investment’ has had a bit of a stigma attached to it. Even though we’ve always considered ESG factors, we haven’t really talked about it with the label of RI because that was a whole different conversation. But if you look at the growth in Canada and the global space – in retail and institutional – that stigma is going away. At CIBC Wood Gundy (within which The Wooding Group operate), we have a national RI committee that supports those specializing in the area and helps educate advisors.”
The growth of responsible investing
According to the Responsible Investment Association’s latest trends report, four factors appear to be influencing the growth of RI:
- More investment managers are becoming involved in the category
- Investors are more aware of ESG opportunities and risks
- More pension funds are using RI
- Millennials are driving change
A central part of our practice has always involved a discussion of client values, whatever their financial resources, and how those values influence investment decisions. Since that kind of thinking is part of our DNA, embracing the opportunities offered by shrewd RI investing comes as second nature to us.
Understanding our clients and their families’ key issues
Debra Wooding, our First Vice-President, is passionate about fostering – as is stated in her professional profile page on our website – a deep understanding of our clients and their families’ key issues and unique circumstances. Put another way, our belief is that the chances of a company being a good investment is pretty low if it doesn’t have good corporate governance and if it isn’t socially and environmentally responsible.
At the Vancouver conference Lindsay will be interacting and networking with leaders in RI and hearing from ESG specialists and thought leaders to exchange views about the latest issues, trends and developments in the field.
Already well informed about the RI category, we are confident that Lindsay will return to our practice with an even deeper understanding of the rapidly emerging opportunities in an investment category that’s buzzing with an increasing degree of effervescence.
Conclusion: The Jantzi Social Index
One final thought. The Jantzi Social Index (JSI), which was launched in January 2000 in partnership with Dow Jones Indexes, is a socially screened, market capitalization-weighted common stock index modeled on the S&P/TSX 60 consisting of 50 Canadian companies that pass broad set of ESG criteria.
The JSI has begun to generate the first definitive data on the effects of social screening on financial performance in Canada. As reported by SUSTAINANALYTICS (www.sustainalytics.com), over the last 17 years, the JSI has actually has outperformed the TSX.
The Wooding Group, 780 498-5047