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Why women are leading the way in ESG investing

Clemence

Clémence Chatelin is a Financial Planner at Paradigm Norton, one of the UK’s largest independent financial planning firms. She sits on the investment committee as their Impact Investing Specialist – a cause close to her heart. As part of our #AdviseHer campaign, we talked to Clémence about the attractiveness of ESG investing for women.

“Men may dominate the finance sector still, but if you look at investment giants like JP Morgan Asset Management and Invesco, you’ll see that it’s women leading the ESG charge.

For many years, ESG was considered essential but wasn’t very popular. Bonnie Wongtrakool, portfolio manager and global head of ESG investments at Western Asset Management in Pasadena, recently recalled how ESG was often a task assigned to women in the industry, because we would just ‘get it done’.

Today ESG is shooting to the top of the agenda and those women who previously ‘got it done’ in the background are the experts in the field and becoming leaders in their respective firms.

“67% of women investors want to see their investments ‘do good’.

Having years of experience in understanding and shaping ESG investing is opening up opportunities for women at the very top of big firms. For many, including myself, there is a sense of real achievement, not just in career progression but in specialising in an area that allows us to be a force for good.

I think that today many women are attracted to ESG investing because we know that money is powerful and ESG is a way to wield that power in a positive way. It’s great to see this reinforced by recent research that suggests 67% of women investors want to see their investments ‘do good’.

What I am excited about right now is how ESG is starting to become an option for the mass market. Previously, it was the preserve of clients who could afford direct equity investment or philanthropy. Now, with women holding more wealth than ever and demonstrating a desire to invest ethically, all the drivers to make ESG mainstream are in place. Here at Paradigm Norton, we are encouraging all our clients to consider the impact their money has.

There are barriers that we still need to work on though. One is a general understanding of ESG investing. Too few people truly understand that impact investing is achieved across a spectrum. The Impact Management Project, a global forum defining how to measure, manage and report social environmental and economic performance, has defined this spectrum as ranging from the conventional maximising of risk adjusted return to philanthropy.

“Now, with women holding more wealth than ever and demonstrating a desire to invest ethically, all the drivers to make ESG mainstream are in place.”

In between these two extremes lie the possibilities to invest for good through exclusions of controversial sectors and companies, the favouring of companies with good ESG ratings and the selection of impactful companies.

We aim to provide options across the entire spectrum for our clients, so they can balance their financial and impact goals.

We also believe in putting our money where our mouth is, and not just paying lip service. That’s why we’re employee owned – with 57% female partners – and we’re a B Corp™. While Bonnie might have been right about the growing popularity in ESG, at Paradigm Norton it’s a core value!”



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