Making our range of investment products ESG-proof also means tackling asset classes and industries where data availability and transparency still have some headway to make. While challenges remain, for example in emerging markets, we can now rank debt issuers comprehensively on the basis of some 90 factors. This gives us a good view of whom to embrace and whom to avoid in our EMD portfolios, as Bryan Carter explains in the first article. Having a presence on the ground matters in this respect, including in China, where our senior economist Chi Lo keeps tabs on Beijing’s efforts to transform the economy while maintaining the momentum of growth. Read his latest analysis in our second article. Finally in this edition, an extensive write-up of the many efforts and initiatives – our own and those of the many multilateral organisations we belong to – en route to a sustainable finance system, all the while remembering that there is further to go before the world becomes a better place.
More and more investors are considering environmental, social and governance factors alongside traditional financial risks. But many balk at using ESG criteria for emerging markets, worried this limits opportunities or returns.
Facing growth headwinds, Beijing will likely ease policy further. We believe this is positive for bonds in the short term, but weak growth should limit equity performance until solid economic stabilisation or recovery emerges.
This transition is gaining pace, as CEO Frédéric Janbon told the first PRI Sustainable Finance Policy Conference. While it is moving up many agendas, much work on sustainable finance remains to be done.
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Any views expressed here are those of the author as of the date of publication, are based on available information, and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may hold different views and may take different investment decisions for different clients.
The value of investments and the income they generate may go down as well as up and it is possible that investors will not recover their initial outlay.
Investing in emerging markets, or specialised or restricted sectors is likely to be subject to a higher than average volatility due to a high degree of concentration, greater uncertainty because less information is available, there is less liquidity, or due to greater sensitivity to changes in market conditions (social, political and economic conditions).
Some emerging markets offer less security than the majority of international developed markets. For this reason, services for portfolio transactions, liquidation and conservation on behalf of funds invested in emerging markets may carry greater risk.