Morningstar, MMI Launch Sustainable Investing Initiative to Educate ESG, ETF Opportunity

The Money Management Institute (MMI) has partnered with Morningstar in a joint initiative, the MMI/Morningstar Sustainable Investing Initiative, to help educate advisors about the sustainable investment opportunity, notably the incorporation of environmental, social and governance or ESG factors, and how to better implement these strategies in their practices.

“This is a tremendous growth opportunity for the U.S.,” Marie Dzanis, FlexShares’ Head of Distribution, told ETF Trends in a call. “This is a turning point in the U.S. to be involved in this type of thinking.”

The program will be based on educational resources, workshops, forums and thought leadership intended to aid advisors build knowledge to engage clients and hopefully be more comfortable in recommending sustainable investments, like the ESG-theme.

“Clients are clearly interested in discussing ESG with their financial advisors,” Jon Hale, Morningstar’s Head of Sustainability Research, told Wealth Management. “But the majority of advisors need more professional education and practical insights on incorporating sustainable investing into their practices to feel comfortable having those conversations.”

Backing up the initiative, Calvert Research and Management (an Eaton Vance affiliate), Merrill Lynch and FlexShares Exchange Traded Funds at Northern Trust Asset Management have also come out in support of the program both by underwriting the launch and contributing to developing the curriculum going forward.

“Responsible investors deserve strong performance, high-quality ESG research, shareholder engagement, and clear impact reporting,” John Streur, president of Calvert Research and Management, told Wealth Management. “This program will teach them how to get what their clients deserve.”