World's largest asset managers accused of failing to invest responsibly

World's largest asset managers accused of failing to invest
World's largest asset managers accused of failing to invest responsibly

ShareAction report accuses top asset managers of 'treading water' with their sustainable investment strategies

BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity, State Street Global Advisors and other global asset managers controlling over £77trn in assets have this week been accused of "treading water" on environmental and social issues.

ShareAction's new Point of No Returns report, which ranks 77 major asset managers from best to worst in a league table, found that two-thirds of firms surveyed scored a CCC rating or worse.

The study assessed whether investment policies meet basic responsible criteria, including on climate, biodiversity, social, governance and stewardship. It found "serious gaps" in their responsible investment policies and practices.

"A majority of the world's largest asset managers are failing to meet even basic criteria, let alone take the steps needed to help protect people and planet for generations to come," said Claudia Gray, head of financial sector research at ShareAction. 

The four largest asset managers in the world - Blackrock, Vanguard, Fidelity Investments and State Street Global Advisors - all scored poorly, receiving either D or E grades. 

US asset managers received the worst grades more than three times as frequently as their European rivals, which filled every spot in the ranking's top ten. 

However, Gray said it also saw some "surprising and inspiring green shoots of progress", with some well-known names making significant improvements. 

Since ShareAction's last assessment in 2020, Santander Asset Management and JP Morgan Asset Management have risen significantly in the rankings, in part because they adopted frameworks for their climate-related investments.

Robeco, BNP Paribas, and Legal & General also scored highly, ranking in the top four due to what the group described as "robust policies". 

Despite this, even the top performing asset managers in the survey have a biodiversity blind spot, the report noted, "often failing to take into account the protection of important habitats such as forests, rivers and oceans when managing their investments".

"As global standards remain so low, almost every asset manager needs a jolt to the system. We are running out of time to act on these global problems if we want to avoid catastrophes," Gray added. 

This article first appeared at Investment Week.

* This article was originally published here