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Summarising Mercer's new, global non-profit investment survey

Investment consultant Mercer out with results from their global non-profit investment survey (which includes faith-based asset owners among the 133 respondents from 20 countries).

At almost 50 pages it’s a lot, but helpfully summarized to a few points here, and in a chaptered podcast on this same page–they’re worth a reflection.

Notably, Mercer finds:

  • Widespread ESG adoption with 83% of respondents currently or planning to incorporate 'ESG into investment decisions.' Of these organizations, 67% are using ESG 'to align our investments with our mission or values.' Runner up reason 44% 'to reflect stakeholder views or preferences'.

  • Similar to our “Good Intentions” findings – 48% 'currently, or are planning on, investing with an impact investing lens'.

  • But, and likely related, for many of us it’s getting more challenging: '44% of respondents believe their investment programs have gotten more complex…', and that many lack adequate resources, a theme highlighted in our recent “Smaller Organisations…” paper. Possibly as a result, fully 55% of respondents 'are outsourcing services to a third-party provider to help them address increased portfolio complexity'.

With a good quote by one of the speakers (paraphrased):

'Impact investing is still investing, don’t be wowed by good stories - do your homework and treat it as an investment --- and beware, there’s a growing amount of “impact washing” as asset managers follow the money.'

…as they find further – 48% of respondents say 'its too early in the investment life cycle to judge…' if impact investments have met their financial and return objectives, the highest among all private market investment types.

For those considering OCIO – covered in our recent paper – pages 32 and 33 of the report show the criteria and services asset owners employ with OCIO selection and relationships.


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