The first quarter of 2020 will go down as one of the worst quarterly showings for major domestic equity benchmarks, including the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, on record. However, plenty of environmental, social and governance (ESG) ETFs performed less poorly than their traditional equity peers.
That could shine a light on ETFs, such as the FlexShares STOXX US ESG Impact Index Fund (CBOE: ESG) and its global counterpart, the FlexShares STOXX Global ESG Impact Index Fund (CBOE: ESGG).
“Like all equity funds, sustainable equity funds suffered sudden and large losses during the first quarter of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they held up better than conventional funds,” said Morningstar analyst Jon Hale in a recent note. “Seven out of 10 sustainable equity funds finished in the top halves of their Morningstar categories, and 24 of 26 environmental, social, and governance-tilted index funds outperformed their closest conventional counterparts.”
With the ETF industry continuing to grow and expand, money managers see strategies focused on environmental, social, and governance as part of the next evolution in the innovative ETF space.
ESGG is based on the STOXX Global ESG Impact Index, which screens companies scoring better with respect to a select set of ESG key performance indicators (KPIs), with the bottom 50% of such companies based on their ESG KPI scores excluded from the Index, as are companies that do not adhere to the UN Global Compact principles, are involved in controversial weapons or are coal miners.
During the first quarter, the returns of sustainable equity funds were clustered in the top halves of their respective categories, and more sustainable funds’ returns ranked in their category’s best quartile than in any other quartile,” according to Morningstar. “The returns of 70% of sustainable equity funds ranked in the top halves of their categories and 44% ranked in their category’s best quartile. By contrast, only 11% of sustainable equity funds finished in their category’s worst quartile.”
FlexShares ESG’s index is an optimized index designed to provide broad market exposure that is tilted toward U.S. companies that score better with respect to a small set of ESG characteristics and to provide the potential for attractive risk-adjusted performance relative to the STOXX® USA 900 Index, as determined by the index provider.
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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.