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Mercer manager research offers first

Mercer manager research offers first for New Zealand asset owners

New Zealand investors will now be able to assess mainstream managers, across the board, on their commitment to good corporate citizenship thanks to a new initiative from Mercer.

Mercer has further evolved its manager research process to evaluate the extent fund managers pro-actively integrate environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) into their mainstream investment process.

The move comes as institutional asset owners are becoming increasingly interested in whether managers behave as active owners of capital and whether they reflect the materiality of ESG in their investment decision-making.

Mercer’s existing ESG research process has been expanded to rate all managers on their ESG capabilities at strategy level. Going forward, ESG questions will be asked of every manager in the Mercer database and included on every research meeting agenda. The manager research team will indicate where managers incorporate ESG and recommend where further ESG research is justified.

Ms Helga Birgden, head of Mercer’s responsible investment team for Asia Pacific said: “For the first time, New Zealand asset owners will be able to obtain a comprehensive, whole of market insight into the ways ESG issues are being applied by mainstream investment managers in their investment research, analysis and decision making. 

Since Mercer launched its ESG manager research process via its Global Investment Management Database (GIMD™) managers have responded in respect of 1,700 investment strategies in regard to ESG in less than a month.

“We believe this sends a clear signal to both managers and owners. Not only do we believe that environmental, social and governance factors are important, but our clients, some of the largest asset owners in the world, do too. We are very pleased to be leading the market in this direction,” said Ms Birgden.

Tim Gardener, global chief investment strategist at Mercer said: "In the past, it was just a small group of organisations that were interested in active ownership and environmental, social and governance analysis.  However, there is a growing number of mainstream investors who believe these issues can have an impact on long-term investment performance.

"Demand for this type of integrated research spans traditional and alternative asset classes, and all regions. Our updated process allows institutional investors to systematically assess investment managers' capabilities in the environmental, social and governance area, something a growing number of our clients wish to do,” he concluded. 



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