Investment Leadership Awards ESG winners revealed

Australian Ethical Investment and BetaShares Capital have taken top awards in the ESG category at the annual Financial Standard Investment Leadership Awards in Sydney.

The awards, run by partner publication Financial Standard, recognise Australian investment managers that have consistently produced solid returns while effectively managing investment risk.

Australian Ethical was recognized in the ESG category for Australian equities for its Australian Shares Fund - Wholesale, while BetaShares won in the ESG category for international equities for its Global Sustainability Leaders ETF (ETHI).

The awards span 21 categories across six major asset class sectors, with analysis conducted by Rainmaker Information.

"Investment managers that are leading their industry with exceptional investment outcomes should be acknowledged because they will push their industry to get even better and reward their investors with higher investment outcomes," said Rainmaker Information head of investment research John Dyall.

To reveal Australia's best investment managers, Rainmaker analysed the investment performance of each strategy against their peers alongside a range of important risk measures.

As part of this rigorous assessment Rainmaker considered more than seven factors, including performance over multiple time periods, volatility, downside risk and performance ratios.

BetaShares cites integrity and quality of investment methodology as key reasons behind the demand and return of ETHI.

"ETHI applies some of the most stringent ESG screens in the industry," BetaShares head of strategy Ilan Israelstam previously told FS Sustainability. "There's also an additional layer of oversight, in the form of the BetaShares Responsible Investment Committee, which can exclude a company exposed to significant ESG-related reputational risk or controversy, if the committee considers that its inclusion would be inconsistent with ETHI's responsible investment principles.

"ETHI's methodology gives ethical investors confidence that the fund is true-to-label, and will deliver on the promise of offering an ethically-screened portfolio that aligns with their values."

Meanwhile, Australian Ethical has seen funds under management across all its business channels grow to beyond $5 billion in AUM by the end of 2020, and the fund manager and super provider has set an ambitious target to grow to $20 - 25 billion in AUM.

"We feel we can be a significant player in the Australian marketplace, at $20-25 billion in funds under management with the performance that we've had as well in terms of investment return," Australian Ethical's head of distribution Leah Willis told FS Sustainability previously.

Read more: Financial StandardAustralian Ethical InvestmentBetaShares CapitalRainmaker InformationGlobal Sustainability Leaders ETFIlan IsraelstamJohn DyallLeah Willis