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Sustainable Investment Solutions Symposium: The View From Boston

Written by First Affirmative

First Affirmative News

You’ve probably noticed that the First Affirmative team has been on the road quite a bit over the last few months as we co-present the 2019 Sustainable Investment Solutions (SIS) symposium series. Last week we were in Boston for yet another great SIS event.

We’ve really seen attendance at these regional events ticking up. More than 75 advisors were at SIS Boston, and interest levels in this investment movement are noticeably higher than perhaps they’ve ever been as SRI/ESG assets top $12 trillion+!

It’s clear that those in attendance understand the opportunity SRI presents for them and for their clients to do well by doing good. This is especially true as they market their services to their female and millennial prospects and clients, whom studies have shown are more inclined to want to invest with their values.

But like many advisors, they’re seeking guidance on “how to SRI” so we gear these SIS events to address some of their most pressing questions like:

  • What are the different types of SRI/ESG products?
  • What is the difference between SRI and ESG and Impact investing? (more on that in an upcoming blog post)
  • What analytical tools can I use to fully evaluate them?
  • Where do they fit in a client’s overall portfolio?
  • What about performance? Is there a tradeoff?
  • How do I “have the conversation” with my clients and prospects.

There were three panels presented: “ESG Integration in Public Securities,” “Advocacy and Impact,” and “Advisor Best Practices.” All three sessions were well received and generated a lot of robust discussion.

For those of us who have been around SRI/ESG for a long time, it was great to see some traditional asset managers present who haven’t typically been in the SRI/ESG mix, including UBS and RBC. These firms are recognizing the value – for both the advisor and the client – in SRI/ESG and are putting more money and resources into growing this part of their businesses. As pioneers in this space, we welcome all to the fold who are working to advance sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing.

Here’s a full list of companies who participated in the symposium and the BASIC networking event:

ALL these companies are doing great work in pursuit of deploying capital to address our most pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges while helping people invest in a way that aligns with their values and preferences.  

The day was capped off with a cocktail hour with BASIC – The Boston Area Sustainable Investment Consortium. The event drew more than 70 members for a lively evening where the discussion around SRI/ESG continued! BASIC is an awesome organization that works to connect Boston-area SRI professionals via educational, social, and networking activities.

If you missed your chance to attend this event in Boston, we’ve got two more coming up – one in Denver this August, and one in Minneapolis in September.

And, if you’re ready for an even deeper dive – check out the largest and longest running conference for SRI/ESG – The SRI Conference. This year we’ll be celebrating 30 years with an entire track devoted to the financial advisor and an immersive two-day optional workshop just for advisors where you can fine-tune your knowledge and skills even further.