INVESTMENT CONSULTANT SERVICES REVIEW

 

The PRI’s Investment Consultant Services Review examines the full suite of investment consultants’ service provision from an ESG perspective.

WHY REVIEW INVESTMENT CONSULTANTS?

Investment consultants advise on the investment practices of trillions of dollars worldwide. They advise asset owners on funding decisions, asset allocation, manager selection and reporting, and they train sponsors and trustees on investment processes. They are a recognised source of authority and knowledge. The views that investment consultants hold about ESG factors have major implications for the sustainability of the financial system.

KEY POINTS 
 

  • The research aims to drive a deeper discussion in the industry about the inclusion of ESG issues as a standard part of consulting advice and which new or additional ESG integrated investment services are needed.
  • Despite pockets of excellence, ESG considerations are not a standard part of the advice offered by investment consultants. There are many barriers in market structure, industry practice, and policy and regulation that need to be overcome.
  • The PRI has identified a set of preliminary interventions that will be developed over the coming months to address these barriers – including improving incentives from asset owners, setting expectations on ESG integrated advice and changes to the policy and regulatory framework for investment consultants.

HOW AND WHO?

The report is based on interviews with 22 investment consulting firms and industry experts, data from the PRI’s Reporting and Assessment framework, data on investment consultants, their clients, philosophies and staff provided by IC Research Institute, and a review of the academic and practitioner literature on investment consultants and their clients. Interviews included both ESG-specialist consultants and field consultants.
 
The primary audience are asset owners and investment consultants. Our findings are also relevant for policy makers and regulators.
 

WHAT NEXT?

The PRI is now undertaking a consultation of asset owners and investment consultants to develop and extend the solution set. The PRI will host a number of workshops in multiple countries to solicit feedback. We also encourage written feedback which can be sent to policy@unpri.org (any feedback will be treated as confidential).
 
Following the feedback we will identify, prioritise and sequence projects that we believe will help to achieve our vision of full integration of ESG issues across investment consultants’ service delivery.

Other relevant initiatives

AMNT and UKSIF

  Twelve investment consultants have agreed to ensure clients are made aware of The Pensions Regulator’s guidance that pension schemes take into account environmental, social and governance factors where they are financially material according to the AMNT and UKSIF.  

  ClientEarth

  ClientEarth has published research highlighting the legal risks for pension scheme advisers who fail to address climate change in their advice to clients.