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Investors struggle to implement RI in fixed income

Bond_marketFixed income lags significantly behind equities in the responsible investing field, as bondholders struggle to exert a positive influence over companies.

According to a report by NN Investment Partners, only 26% of professional fixed income investors have a clearly defined responsible investment (RI) approach, compared to nearly 50% for equities.

Seven out of ten investors believed shareholders can positively influence companies - but 65% said this was harder for bondholders.

Edith Siermann, NN Investment Partner’s head of fixed income and RI, said: “There is a lot more to engagement than voting. The fact that bondholders have no vote is no reason to downplay the value of engagement for fixed income investors.

“Voting is just one of the ways investors can influence corporate behaviour. Irrespective of asset class, engagement is an important tool for driving sustainable change and identifying the most attractive investment opportunities within fixed income.”

Over 60% of investors of the 290 respondents said they found it hard to establish how “green” some products really are.

“The concerns about greenwashing are to a certain extent justified. It is key that asset managers offer transparency on the ESG (environmental, social and governance) integration approach and help clients understand the differences in product offering,” Siermann said.

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