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ESG a growing concern among fund selectors – Broadridge

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Broadridge has released the latest edition of its Fund Brand 50 report, which aims to highlight the “world’s best-performing third-party asset management brands”.

The report, said the firm, measures and ranks asset managers’ relative brand attractiveness based on fund selector perceptions, taking into account 10 brand ‘attributes’ to reveal the top US and global brands. Within Europe, Broadridge noted ‘green’ credentials were more coveted than ever before by European fund selectors.

Liam Martin, director of EMEA insights at Broadridge, said: “This development follows news of a European Commission clarification on funds that market themselves under the ‘deepest green’ Article 9 classification.”

The report ranks the 10 most highly thought of firms. BlackRock retained its 2022 position at the top of the list, followed by JP Morgan AM, Fidelity, Picket AM, Amundi, Robeco, Schroders, iShares, and Nordea. Completing the top 10 was independent asset manager Flossbach von Storch, up three places from its position last year.

‘Industry giants’

“The top-five global brands, led by BlackRock, are all industry giants in terms of both assets under management and operational scale,” the report noted. “The top firms continue to jostle for pole position, and there has been some change at the top end of the leaderboard. The remainder of the top-50 list sees selector’s favourite companies run the gamut, from niche product and local market specialists to the major one-stop-shop providers.”

ESG was not the only factor influencing fund-buyer sentiment, however. “High-performing pandemic-era growth strategies are beginning to suffer course correction, which in some cases has led to managers sharply dropping down the leaderboard,” the report said. “An extensive re-rating of former growth market beneficiaries is likely to define the next few years.

“In some cases, the reputational damage was along extreme lines: firms facing scandal, criminal proceedings or significant exposure to Russia all suffered steep drops down the leaderboard. We are clearly in a new era of ethical investing, where fund buyers will not maintain relationships with firms whose activities fail to meet their moral standards, regardless of fund performance.”

According to Broadridge, the Fund Brand 50 report is based on ‘intensive’ interviews with more than 1,200 of the ‘most significant’ fund selectors in Europe, the US and APAC. All of this comes a year or so after Broadridge released a paper, The Rise of the Retail Investor, that outlined five trends and themes the company says has seen “a democratisation of corporate governance” within Europe.

Pete Carvill

Pete Carvill is a reporter, writer, and editor based in Berlin who has been writing for the B2B and mainstream media since 2007. He is a contributing writer for Expert Investor and, in addition, has...

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