Partner Insight: Responsible investing - Can we keep it real?

clock • 3 min read
Partner Insight: Responsible investing - Can we keep it real?

BMO’s Jamie Jenkins, Co-Head of Global Equities, on why today’s ‘land grab’ in responsible investment is highlighting the need for authenticity and teamwork

What are the key trends emerging in the post-pandemic environment?

People are now on board with the idea - long central to our approach - that it is possible to deliver a compelling investment return while also being aware of the non-financial impacts.

But there's also a land grab going on in terms of firms repositioning themselves as responsible investors. Europe - in many ways the global centre of responsible investing - is using new legislation to guard against greenwashing and to push back on the tidal wave of traditional assets recloaking themselves as responsible.

Where do you see yourselves in that ‘battle for authenticity'?

At BMO, we've been investing responsibly for over 35 years, so we have heritage and credibility. Our clients know where we've come from and where we're trying to go to. I think a trio of characteristics sets the market leaders apart from the fast followers: heritage, authenticity of approach and innovation.

Innovation is important because responsible investment is perennially being redefined, for example, in terms of the most important themes. We are redefining it ourselves and we also need to respond to, and sometimes ride out, the industry trends as well.

Read Spotlight to Responsible Investing

Could ESG integration turn out to be a fad?

I suspect by the end of the decade, a lot of the new labels on products will have dropped away.

But ESG integration is here to stay. There is an inherent logic for integrating these issues thoughtfully into all fundamental analysis, whatever your asset. We believe ESG integration offers a deeper, more granular analysis of the risk and opportunities that confront every company.

Is your assessment of a company's ESG standing driven largely by ESG data or human judgment?

ESG data has improved vastly over the last 5-10 years but it still needs a lot of interrogation and interpretation. So, the backbone of our proposition in the responsible investing space - and I think this is the aspect that really differentiates us - is our investment teams' partnership with our over-20 strong team of responsible investing experts.

In the investment team, we consider ourselves to be specialist global ESG managers with a solid appreciation of what's going to be acceptable or unacceptable in our world. But we also draw on the Responsible Investment team's expertise throughout the investment process, from idea generation to engagement strategy, and work with them closely on a day-to-day basis.  One of the unintended consequences of working remotely and video calling over the last year is that it's made dropping into each other's meetings culturally acceptable in a way that I think will really help us going forward.

Click here to read Jamie Jenkins' views on the long-term sustainability megatrends now driving the world economy - and for more on how he works with BMO's Responsible Investment team

For professional investors only.

Capital is at risk and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.

The funds mentioned are either sub funds of BMO Investment Funds (UK) ICVC, BMO Investment Funds (UK) ICVC V, both open ended investment companies (OEIC), registered in the UK and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); or BMO Investments (Lux) I Fund, a société d'investissement à capital variable (SICAV), registered in Luxembourg and authorised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF).

English language copies of the Funds' Prospectus and English language copies of the key investor information document (KIID) can be obtained from BMO Global Asset Management, Exchange House, Primrose Street, London EC2A 2NY, telephone: Client Services on 0044 (0)20 7011 4444, email: [email protected] or electronically at Please read the Prospectus before taking any investment decision.

The information provided in the marketing material does not constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact in the Funds.

©2021 BMO Global Asset Management. Financial promotions are issued for marketing and information purposes; in the United Kingdom by BMO Asset Management Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Telephone calls may be recorded.

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