ESG was advertised by 25 asset managers in Asia Pacific during Q1 2021
During Q1 2021, 25 asset managers were advertising their ESG credentials in Asia Pacific, which is the same number as in Q4 2020, although there has been a slight change in the individual asset managers who have been active, data by Fundamental Monitor shows.
While there has been a large increase in the volume of ESG advertising, this can almost entirely be attributed to Fidelity International entering the market. Their volume of 11.3 million impressions accounts for the bulk of the increase to 19.4 million in Q1 2021 to 7 million in Q4 2020. Fidelity has always had a large presence in the region, but this is the first time that Fundamental Monitor has picked up ESG advertising from them.
Increased interest in ESG from Asian investors
While Asia is lagging behind Europe when it comes to implementing ESG criteria into their investment process, recent research by MSCI found that 79% of institutional investors in Asia Pacific have increased their ESG investments ‘significantly’ or ‘moderately’ in response to Covid-19.
Furthermore, 57% expect to have ‘completely’ or ‘to a large extent’ incorporated ESG issues into their investment analysis and decision-making processes by the end of 2021.
A separate study, the Natixis Professional Fund Buyer Outlook, found that among Asian fund buyers, 59% plan to deploy new ESG models in the next one to two years. Almost half (46%) of Asian professional fund buyers believe models make it easier to implement ESG across client portfolios.
With the increased interest in ESG in the APAC region, it is perhaps unsurprising that asset managers see many opportunities in those countries. Fundamental Monitor data shows that ESG advertising made up 27% of the total advertising by asset managers in the first quarter of 2021 in APAC. This is the largest percentage seen in any region for any quarter so far.
Amongst those who have been in market with ESG advertising, this topic has taken up 35% of their total advertising spend. Fidelity has again skewed the figures, as the asset manager has spent 46% of its advertising for Q1 on promoting their ESG credentials. Three asset managers have used all of their advertising spend on ESG: Australian Ethical, Robeco and HSBC Global Asset Management.
All countries monitored saw at least a small amount of ESG advertising, but the largest volume was seen in Australia, where 11 ESG advertisers were active in Q1. Significant volumes were also seen in Hong Kong (by 8 ESG advertisers) and in India (almost all from Invesco).
Smaller volumes were seen in Singapore (7 advertisers), Taiwan (5) and Japan (9) and only a very small amount in Korea (1).
Brand advertising accounted for 63% of ESG advertising, fund promotion 36% and insights just 1%. Most of the individual advertisers concentrated on one type of advertising, exceptions being BetaShares and Schroders who combined fund promotion with a degree of insights.