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Sustainability Perspectives

Episode 70: Rapid ESG Growth - Understanding Millennials & the Rise of Mobile Experiences

Welcome back to the Refinitiv Sustainability Perspectives podcast. In this episode, Keesa chats with Charles Smith, Global Head of Digital Solutions at Refinitiv, covering recent reports about digitization in the wealth space, it's surprising findings, the rapid surge of interest in ESG investing today and how it is set to increase.

Host: Keesa Schreane

Guests - Charles Smith, Global Head of Digital Solutions, Wealth Management at Refinitiv

  • Keesa: 34% of investors are more interested in ESG today than they've been in the past now this is expected to increase and wealth advisors are responding in a myriad of ways here to discuss this is Charles Smith head of digital solutions at Refinitiv. Thank you for joining us.

    Charles: thank you for having me.

    Keesa: so tell us about the recent report Around digitization in the wealth space and what were some of the more surprising findings of that report?

    Charles: Yes we said we did as you know this area over 1000 investors globally over the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic and we learned quite a bit there's some things I think we kind of knew it kind of reaffirmed our our thoughts but also we learned some surprising facts I think one thing to point out is that you know surprisingly given all the work and effort that we put into digital and delivering you know information and content digitally the only 37% investors globally are still are satisfied with their experience and I thought we got a little bit higher but we're seeing you know some investors happy what they're getting but allows are looking for more more data more content more richer experience and they want the groups that really stood out with us was the millennials. This is obviously a younger generation more digitally savvy more mobile and how they access information anan of those we serve aid you know 29% of millennials are willing to switch providers, when they are really not getting what they need. And And they are very mobile and how they can move around right they look at different experiences in their in their life and they compare their wealth experience to what they're getting from some of their other social media channels and other other visual access points so they're much more much more likely to move I think the overall point 10% of investors overall we're likely to move but as I mentioned in the millennials are almost three times more likely to to move on to another otherwise provider. Another thing is mobile access, we’re seeing more and more investors one access information through mobile channels A 43% of all investors I used mobile taxes are investments and that's obviously much much higher over 70% for millennials and finally the last thing that jumped out as was 80% investors say they really need real time data you know up-to-date information content that really this really was accentuated during the pandemic where a lot more investors are looking at things online their home or that they've access to their their desktop their mobile , their at home more, mobile phone, doing more investing on their own and they want to get access information they're looking for. content ESG is definitely one of the right we're seeing a large number of providers advisors and investors all looking for more content with your deeper insights and the company will invest in and ESG is leading the way in that in that sense.

    Keesa: so, on that topic let’s talk about digital tools and how they can be useful in terms of how our clients get access to information and how they’re able to integrate ESG?

    Charles: Digital is the way to go with ESG. Many investors we talk about talk about companies going deper on thow they measure their businesses. Stock prices are going up, companies are doing better when they are better run, which are those taking ESG into account into management. So it’s not just diving deep, you need ways to compare across the board to find the one that’s best. E.g. which one in technology is best run in the long term? That’s where ESG comes in. You need to take into account all aspects of their business and those are the ones that score higher on ESG Scoring. Advisors are looking to valuable things like including tools and including into workflow. You need to know how to include ESG into the life cycles of their clients.

    Keesa: And to being specific and technical there, in a technical perspective, what does it look like to incorporate ESG into the workflow for the advisor?

    Charles: for sure. It is really apart of the entire conversation an advisor has with a client. It’s understanding their preferences and profile, their risk profile etc, but now it’s more about behaviour, their preferences, how important it is to them that their investments align to their values. This starts with opening conversation and as you move through their life cycle of goals and aspirations and funding amounts, their whole household and goals in their lives, saving for homes, college etc, it’s getting that information and working in the ESG components. How do they align? Put the proposal together and pick out investments. Now you know their important points, you can more easily align the data into their profile. How they will find resonating companies. The other part is the ongoing conversation of what is changing and what’s adjusting. And keeping to work ESG into the conversation in the entire flow. It’s not asking about just returns and targets, what are your goals in life? What’s changing? Tell me more about you and we’ll align your investments perfectly with how you view the world.

    Keesa: That’s great information and talking about questions you need to ask, it’s not just about risk like how it was years ago. I’m wondering too, if we’re looking at advisors and how to access the best data? What do they need to understand to access and use the best way with the data?

    Charles: Do I have the best tools and best provider? At Refinitiv, we do a good job at finding ESG in our offerings, they need to think internally and think am I doing this right for the client? They need to look at the advisor and compare them to others in the market. Am I offering the right capabilities? It’s important to look across their entire toolset and cover what the client needs along the whole way.

    Keesa: Fantastic research. We are seeing that today, especially with millennials who are willing to switch wealth providers, they want more mobile channels. Investors are looking to invest on their own and need real time data and also focusing on advisors focusing on early conversations and what the client’s plans are and what’s changing in their lives. One of the most important pieces here from you Charles is to continue to get feedback from clients, ask the questions, survey them and ensure they are providing exactly what they need. Thank you so much Charles, really great insights there.

    Charles: Thank you so much Keesa, great talking to you.