Skip to main content

You are here


What’s the (Big) Deal with ESG?

Industry Trends and Research

Advisors – participant investors – and these days, even regulators – appear to be of two minds on environmental, social and governance investing – better known as “ESG.” This week, we’d like to know what you think – and what, if anything, you’re recommending.

Research from Cerulli Associates found that in 2017, 45% of investor households cited ESG factors as a preferred method of investing, with enthusiasm highest among younger investors. And while there have been signs of any uptick among institutional investors, a survey of large plan sponsors found no real movement among the DC plans of those large plan sponsors.

Perhaps contributing to the current state, the Labor Department – albeit under two different administrations – has, in Field Assistance Bulletins, sent what many consider to be mixed messages on the subject.

Indeed, in the inaugural NAPA Summit Insider survey of more than 500 retirement plan advisors, 16% of that group was inclined to label ESG as “over-hyped” – though just as many (20%) indicated it was a topic on which they would like to have more information.

A Cerulli report suggests that a significant factor in the slow uptick in adoption of ESG are – advisors – and that the factors holding them back is a perception that these strategies do not fit into client investment policy statements (26%), negative impact on investment performance (24%) and cost (19%).

This week, we’d like to know what you’re thinking – and saying – and hearing – on the subject of ESG. And what, if anything, about which you’d like to know more.

Respond to this week’s NAPA Net Reader Poll at