Citing growing demand from investors for information on ESG criteria and policies, the UK-based Association of Investment Companies (AIC) is to launch individual investment company ESG disclosures on its website www.theaic.co.uk.
The AIC will give member investment companies the opportunity to share their ESG policies in an easy, accessible way for investors. The free-form disclosures will be available on member companies' profile pages in the second quarter of 2021 and will appear alongside existing information such as performance data and portfolio holdings.
Companies will be able to state for example whether they have adopted or signed up to sustainability initiatives such as the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will also be able to explain whether they actively exclude specific sectors, for example tobacco or gambling.
The new pages will give investment companies the opportunity to explain their approaches, from how they engage with investee companies, to their integration of ESG principles in investment selection."
All AIC member investment companies are being encouraged to submit ESG disclosures and can update them at any time. Should investors want more detail, investment companies and their management groups will also be able to use these pages to share links to external sources and information.
Ian Sayers, AIC chief executive (pictured), said: "The AIC has seen a rapid increase in enquiries from private investors, advisers and wealth managers wanting to find out more about the ESG credentials of investment companies. Investment companies' report and accounts already contain valuable information on ESG strategies, but we wanted to make it even easier for investors to find ESG criteria alongside other data they use to inform their investment decisions. That's why we're inviting member investment companies to publish their ESG policies on the AIC's website."
"The new pages will give investment companies the opportunity to explain their approaches, from how they engage with investee companies, to their integration of ESG principles in investment selection. As the appetite for this kind of information grows, we hope this information will help investors make investment decisions that align with their non-financial goals."
Sayers added: "Investment companies have unique advantages which make them well suited to ESG strategies. Their closed-ended structure and stock exchange listing mean they are particularly suitable for hard-to-sell illiquid assets which address ESG needs such as renewable energy infrastructure, social housing and impact investing. They also have independent boards whose job it is to protect the interest of shareholders, providing an extra layer of independent governance."