ESG Commitment of Asset Managers Still Considered Important to Asian Investors: Report

Investors across Asia continue to look to diversify their investment portfolios amidst an uncertain global economy, according to FleishmanHillard’s The Future of Asset Management in Asia 2024 report. 

While the environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitment of asset managers is still considered important (78%), it has declined slightly by four percentage points compared to the previous year’s survey.

The report, published with research by TRUE Global Intelligence practice, features analysis drawn from an online survey of 1,250 investment professionals in Asia, with 250 respondents each in, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Mainland China, Singapore and South Korea between March 30 and April 10, 2024. The report also includes an overview of the latest trends in Asia’s asset management industry.

The 2024 report highlights the key risks currently identified by investors, with the majority of investors (42%) most concerned about slow global economic growth or even a downturn, followed by persistent inflation (24%) and geopolitical tensions (16%).

In response to these uncertainties, nearly one-third of respondents (29%) plan to shift their investments towards lower-risk options, while 23% intend to maintain their current risk profile.

Regarding ESG, the most important commitment from asset managers, as cited by investors, is “walking the talk” and taking action in proxy voting in listed companies (82%). Transparency in ESG data and protocol (79%) and clearly defined ESG goals and objectives (79%) are also highly valued.

Commenting on the findings, Patrick Yu, Asia Pacific lead of FleishmanHillard’s Financial and Professional Services sector said: “More than ever, demonstrating transparency and having a strong profile and reputation are key for asset managers. Credibility and performance are fundamental to these qualities, and it is crucial for asset managers to elevate their strategies, product offerings and ESG commitment to make a difference in the highly competitive environment in the Asia Pacific region.”