More asset managers than ever are advertising their ESG credentials, with a total of 40 advertisers in market in Q4 of 2020.
Throughout 2020 we have seen a rapid rise in the number of different asset managers who have dedicated some or all of their advertising in Europe to the concept of responsible investment or related topics like sustainability, SRI, renewable energy or women in business. Data from Fundamental Monitor shows 18 advertisers in Q1, rising to 29 in Q2 and 34 in Q3, but Q4 saw no fewer than 40 advertisers in market. This trends seems to be in very close alignment with the increasing importance that asset owners give to ESG investing.
The fourth quarter of 2020 saw the largest ESG advertising volumes yet seen across Europe. In total, 13.6 million impressions were dedicated to ESG in the last three months of 2020, a significant rise compared to the 9.9 impressions seen in Q3. ESG advertising as a percentage of all asset management advertising has also increased steeply from 12% to 17%.
While the majority of advertising focused on insight pieces in previous quarters, in Q4 the largest proportion of advertising (48% of the total) was dedicated to brand, with 32% offering thought leadership insights and just 18% dedicated to fund promotion.
With 19 different advertisers, the UK had the most asset managers advertising their ESG offering. Thirteen advertisers were active in Italy, 12 each in Spain and Germany, 11 in the Netherlands and 9 in France and Switzerland.
Of the 14 European countries covered by Fundamental Monitor, only Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway saw no ESG-related advertising during Q4.
On average, 24% of the activity amongst the 40 advertisers was ESG oriented. Ten advertisers Lombard Odier, Legg Mason, Kempen, Nordea, Mackenzie, Bank DegroofPetercam, Generali, Lion Trust, Metzler and Gravis Capital dedicated 100% of their activity to ESG. A further 11 were seen to have between 59% and 95% of their promotional activity in this area; 7 advertisers used from 10% to 48% of their ad volume in this way and the remaining 12 dedicated under 10% to responsible investing.
It should also be noted that there were 71 asset managers active in Europe that eschewed this topic altogether, at least in their paid-for marketing. But if the trend from 2020 continues the number of asset managers promoting ESG-related messages is bound to grow further.