“Impact investing” is a hot topic in the financial world today. Already, 39% of surveyed financial professionals say they are offering such choices to clients and another 15% plan to do so in the near future.
Available online, the First Affirmative survey is based on 508 responses to an online survey of financial professionals not usually identified as SRI practitioners. Key survey findings include the following:
- Nearly two thirds of surveyed financial advisors claim to be “very aware” or “somewhat aware” of impact investing (see graph to the right).
- However, one out of five could not define “impact investing” and there was little consensus among the rest on specific definitions, with more than a third (38%) opting for “all of the above” on impact investing’s definition. One common definition of “impact investing” is that it seeks to achieve environmental or social change while generating a return for an investor.
- Over half (51%) of surveyed financial advisors say “impact investing likely will become a bigger focus for more advisors in the next five years.” An even greater percentage—73%—see impact investing becoming a “much bigger” or “somewhat bigger” part of their practice in the same time period.
- Why offer impact investing? Client demand at 58%.
- What is the Number 1 factor that surveyed financial advisors say keeps them from getting involved in impact investing? “Lack of information/familiarity” at 77%.
Commenting on the survey findings, First Affirmative Financial Network President, Steve Schueth, said: “The survey’s findings show that the financial world is adjusting quickly to accommodate retail investor demand for impact investing. It is encouraging to see so many so-called ‘mainstream’ financial advisors embrace the notion that their clients can do well and do good at the same time. Only a few years ago investing for impact was the exclusive province of investment professionals who specialized in SRI—Sustainable, Responsible, Impact investing. The reason for this encouraging trend is pretty clear: A new generation of Millennials, women, and college-educated investors are demanding positively impactful investment strategies.” (see graph below)
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