A survey by the CISI professional body found that when it comes to areas such as investing, wealth management and fund management only 1 in 5 are sure their firms fully support ESG principles.
The CISI has 45,000 members with most working for financial services firms including Financial Planning businesses, fund managers and investment managers. It awards the Certified Financial Planner designation.
It surveyed respondents in October and December with 563 taking part.
Survey respondents were asked: “How confident are you that your firm is committed to the adoption and execution of ethical finance policies and ESG principles as regards lending, investing, wealth management and fund management activities?”
Of the 563 who took part, 20% said they were “confident”, 10% said they were “neutral”, with 70% said they were “not confident”.
Negative comments from those who took part included:
• “Traction with senior management proving challenging.”
• “The owner of the business I now work for is sceptical over new funds being guided to a more ESG investment stance. He argues that even government bonds are not ethical as most governments invest in arms, Nuclear power and weapons.”
• “American firm, overall not a good attitude to anything other than making money; mental health, charity, social, environment all not important.”
Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI, CISI CEO said: “Climate-related risks and the deterioration of the world’s natural capital assets are the most significant issues of our time.
“Support across firms for ESG and ethical finance is therefore critical for future sustainability and stewardship of our world. Our survey shows that some firms are making good progress but we still have a long way to go as a profession to prove our ESG credentials.”
He added that with a recent report finding a third of low-carbon funds were investing in oil and gas, the financial sector needed universally-agreed ESG standards and ratings to boost confidence and trust for investors.