Report highlights link between authenticity and ESG communications

Investment managers that have a high degree of authenticity in their activities are much more likely to communicate effectively with institutional investors, a study from Peregrine Communications has found.

The study looked at environmental, social and governance (ESG) communications, and comes amid questions about the validity of the methodologies and goals of ESG investing.

This year’s rankings, which are based on the effectiveness of asset managers’ communications, were topped by BNP Paribas Asset Management.

Robeco came in second, while Schroders “dramatically rose up the ranking” to third, with the increase in position driven by its ‘Beyond Profit’ campaign.

NN Investment Partners and Pictet Asset Management making up the rest of the top five.

Peregrine Communications said it was significant that BNP Paribas Asset Management and Robeco also led the field in responsible investment, according to rankings by Share Action.

The report also found that firms with stronger communications, as measured by the ‘Message Penetration Score’, were more likely to see higher brand awareness and momentum around ESG.

Seven of the top 10 firms increased their contextual ESG brand awareness significantly, compared to only one in the bottom 10.

“We first launched our report into ESG investing in 2019 to help asset managers navigate the difficult challenge of finding areas of the conversation that they could own and discuss with authority,” said Peregrine Communications chief executive, Anthony Payne.

“Three years on and this challenge is no less pertinent. Despite the challenges ESG investing itself currently faces, the long and short of it remains, that firms that are bold, focused and authentic will continue to win out, regardless of how the various narratives around ESG play out over the next 12 months.”

Peregrine Communications also discovered a ‘disconnect’ between the content asset managers are producing and the organic demand for that material.

More than half (57 per cent) of the 100 themes assessed were ‘over-indexed’ by the market, meaning that there was more content than organic demand.

“As we have highlighted in previous editions of our ESG report, asset managers must align messaging with core capabilities before delivering them via a well-balanced strategic communications program,” commented Peregrine Communications managing director, Max Hilton.

“There remain a number of areas where asset managers have an opportunity to establish brand differentiation and category authority in a space that is rapidly becoming more crowded. But if their efforts lack authenticity, they not only risk undermining their own reputation but also that of the entire investment industry with a negative knock-on economic impact.”

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