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More than 50% of asset managers received institutional client requests for SRI/ESG mandates

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More than 50% of asset managers received requests for socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social, governance (ESG) mandates from institutional clients, according to Cerulli Associates.

"Many executives we spoke with during our research interviews told us that they are getting more client inquiries regarding responsible investing strategies," states Susana Schroeder, senior analyst at Cerulli. "Most managers deal with requests that involve restrictions against holding securities, which are often tied to responsible investing." 

Cerulli evaluates US institutional markets, including distribution and product trends within public and private pensions, endowments and foundations, and insurance general accounts in their Institutional Markets 2014: Opportunities in a Crowded Market. Topics include market sizing, segmentation, and asset projections for institutional channels. 

Responsible investment encompasses several areas: ESG, SRI, mission-related investing, impact investing, and program-related investing. 

"There is increasing acceptance among investors and managers that ESG factors, such as hazardous waste disposal and predatory lending practices, can have a material impact on a company's financial wellbeing," Schroeder explains. "Public defined benefit plans and nonprofits are most likely to incorporate ESG factors into their investment process, because of pressure from donors, students, taxpayers, and other constituents." 

"Institutional sales teams report that clients and prospects are inquiring about this area as they seek to better understand the different aspects of sustainable investing," Schroeder continues. "Even professionals working in the trenches have witnessed this shift, including request for proposal (RFP) teams, which have reported a rise in the number of RFPs with embedded ESG-related questions."

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