Is Social Impact Investing Really Only for Millennials?

Mar 2019
Global, March, 06 2019 - Those aged 35 and older are at least as likely to want investments that have a positive impact as so-called millennials, those aged 25-34.

More and more investment management groups now talk proudly about their commitment ‘to social impact’ investing, offering ever more ESG (environmental, social and governance) compliant investment products.

To cynics, this is just a way to attract millennial investors. This is typically the hardest cohort to convince to invest but historically more interested in the social impact of their financial choices.

However, according to polling recently carried out by YouGov, those aged 35 and older are at least as likely to want investments that have a positive impact as so-called millennials, those aged 25-34. 

According to the survey, 49% of 25-34 year olds said they wanted investments that focused on both growth and had a positive impact. In contrast, those 52% of those aged 35-44 responded the same, as did 48% of 45-54 year olds and 51% of those aged 55 and over, suggesting there is little generational difference when it comes to wanting investments with a positive impact.

How will sustainable funds fare when the next bear market strikes? However, it is important to keep in mind that the survey was of the general public, who were asked about their preferences “if they were to invest money”. When it comes to those with a more active and engaged commitment to investing, the age split for impact investing becomes pronounced.

Other surveys have found that much more of a generational divide exists among those who are actively engaged in investing. A survey of investors conducted by Barclays in 2017 found that 43% of investors under 40 had made an “impact investment.” In contrast, just 9% of those aged 50-59 had done so, and only 3% of those aged over 60.

Similarly, a survey of 1000 “active individual investors” in the US by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing from 2017 showed that those aged between 18 and 35 were nearly twice as likely as the general pool of investors to have made an investment because of a brand’s environmental or social impact.

The YouGov survey of the general public, however, did show a key divide between men’s and women’s attitudes to impact investing, with women significantly more mindful of the wider implications.

Among men, 31% of respondents said that they would investment money only on the basis of seeing growth, without reference to social impact. In contrast, only 13% of women answered the same.

Source : Money Observer

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