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Responsible investment is slowly making its way among French investors

A recent survey conducted in France shows that French investors are more and more interested in sustainable investments. According to the Responsible Investment Barometer, 44% of those surveyed said they are willing to invest more than 30% of their savings in these vehicles, while 22% would even invest more than half of their portfolio. There is, however, still a lack of information among some investors.

Daphne Freeman

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Based on a survey of 1,000 savers and some 470 wealth management advisors, the latest Responsible Investment Barometer conducted by CPR AM and Insight AM confirms the growing interest of the French in sustainable investments.

After a year of unprecedented health crisis that disrupted the priorities of public policies and companies, the economic, social, and environmental emergency logically resonated with savers: in 2020, the level of unfamiliarity with ESG products (including environmental, social, and governance selection criteria) decreased among those surveyed in the barometer compared to the previous year (34% versus 31% in 2019), while 44% of them said they were ready to invest more than 30% of their savings in these vehicles. 22% are even willing to invest more than half of their portfolio in them.

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The environment, a priority theme

The environment is the issue that comes out on top, and is the one that raises investors’ awareness (54%) – particularly among assets aged 35 to 49 – ahead of employment (50%), education (46%), and the fight against global warming (46%). The coronavirus crisis has also brought to light new concerns, such as the reduction of inequalities and local consumption-production, subjects of interest that were virtually absent from the results of the first edition of the barometer in 2019.

Conversely, topics related to business ethics and responsible supply chain only interest a minority of respondents (16%).

The ESG investor: young, urban and convinced

Ultimately, the French’s appetite for responsible investment has resulted in a significant increase in the number of these products in the portfolios of savers, without however being a tidal wave: 31% of those surveyed had at least one ESG fund in their savings in 2020, compared to only 21% the previous year.16% of respondents also said they held between 5% and 20% of their assets in ESG products.

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Unsurprisingly, savers who have already taken the ESG step are mostly young (under 35 years old), urban and Ile-de-France residents. With a savings level of €5,000 to €10,000, these “early adopters” are already strongly convinced of the relevance of responsible investment: over the long term, more than two thirds of them are ready to invest more than 70% of their money.

Lack of information

For the others, the main obstacle to these investments remains a general lack of information on market offers, particularly on the part of their wealth management advisors (WMAs).

For their part, these advisors claim to have gone beyond the simple “fade effect” to tackle these subjects head on: more than half of them declare that they systematically discuss SRI opportunities with all their clients, whereas only 28% did so in 2019.

It is also interesting to note a discrepancy between investors’ preferred subjects and the perception of their expectations by the CGPs. While the CGPs recognize a strong appetite for the environment and the fight against global warming, only 16% of the CGPs cite education, employment and local consumption-production as topics of interest to investors. This gap in perception can no doubt be explained by the available offer, “abundant in terms of funds with environmental themes, but more limited and more recent in terms of social issues,” says Pascal Koenig, Chairman of Insight AM.

Good reception of labels

Finally, despite the plethora of SRI labels, which are not always easy to read, the existence of SRI labels that guarantee the ESG scope of investment funds seems to be well perceived by the general public: more than half of those surveyed believe that the development of labels would encourage them to opt for these sustainable supports.

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(Featured image by ejaugsburg via Pixabay)

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First published in BOURSIER.COM, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Daphne Freeman has worked in the crowdfunding and impact investing industry for the past few years, gaining experience in marketing, and connecting businesses and entrepreneurs in need with the right investors. As a seasoned grant writer as well as financial market journalist, she is passionate about making a social impact in the world. A free spirit, Daphne also enjoys writing and exploring topics of interest, currently CBD, health and beauty, and social media influencers.