CINCINNATI, OHIO – May 27, 2020 – Ultimus Fund Solutions® (Ultimus®), one of the largest independent fund service providers in the U.S, today shares practical insights from a recent webinar hosted and moderated by Fund Intelligence on the growing interest in socially-conscious investing through targeted Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies. Sponsored by Ultimus, the ESG webinar showcased three industry professionals discussing the growing interest in ESG sustainable investing, the operational challenges to consider when launching ESG vehicles, and key regulatory and compliance considerations. Discussion also addressed the various investment vehicles fund groups should think about when converting or rebranding funds under the ESG moniker.
ESG funds are portfolios of equities, bonds and other securities for which environmental, social and governance factors have been integrated into the investment process, particularly those that have passed stringent tests regarding the sustainability of company strategies and/or corporate governance. The goal for any asset manager or investment firm launching ESG vehicles is to develop and manage custom investment strategies that achieve targeted environmental and social impact, while at the same time providing acceptable financial performance.
“When evaluating overall ESG strategies, my number one belief is that the best way to select an ESG vehicle is by evaluating and scoring the data,” said ESG thought leader and webinar panelist George Gay, Chief Executive Officer at First Affirmative Financial Network. “For example, somebody concerned about climate change would not be investing in carbon energy or other similar companies. An ESG product launch should be about using scoring data to drive investments so that the average person can clearly understand what best-in-class strategies were utilized, and how to translate those factors to shareholders.”
“There are thousands of ESG investment options in the marketplace, and each represents a particular interest for advisers and investors,” said panelist Kenneth Grant, Independent Trustee and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Unified Series Trust from Ultimus. “One way to narrow down these choices is to use a moral, ethical or value component within the selection framework. To me, ESG factors are integral to all investment outcomes, as well as how they are quantified and standardized so analysts can compare investment options with reliability.”
“Feedback received during the presentation showed that ESG applicability to different product structures and asset-gathering strategies is top-of-mind for many firms,” said panelist Dave Carson, Senior Vice President, Client Strategies for Ultimus. “In terms of structures, those thinking about offering ESG products need to understand their target market, their client’s specific needs and their product expertise whether it’s ’40 Act funds, collective investment trusts or private funds. Those key factors should dictate the type of ESG product structure and strategy to be deployed.”
To learn more:
- Briefly register to watch the full webinar recording HERE.
- View panelist bios HERE.
- Read a recent press release regarding a new ESG fund managed by Cornerstone Capital Inc. HERE.
Ultimus Fund Solutions (Ultimus) is a leading provider of full-service fund administration, accounting, and investor solutions to support the launching and servicing of registered funds, private funds, and public plans, including many ESG strategies. The company also offers customized structures designed for the unique needs of pensions, endowments, foundations, and other large institutions. Ultimus’ deep commitment to excellence is achieved through investments in best-in-class technology, compliance programs, organization-wide cyber security efforts, and hiring seasoned professionals.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio with offices in other major cities such as Chicago and New York, Ultimus employs more than 750 seasoned accountants, attorneys, paralegals, application developers, fund administrators, compliance specialists, and many others with years of experience in the financial services industry. Servicing over 1,200 total traditional and alternative funds, Ultimus helps investment managers and fund families flourish in today’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic investment landscape. For more information, visit www.ultimusfundsolutions.com.