ESG: Older ESG Funds Are Beating New Ones in Performance

March 16, 2020 | ESG and Sustainability, News

ESG investment funds with long track records are beating new competitors as the markets continue to unravel. Roughly 400 of the 2,800 ESG funds were in positive territory for the year as of last Thursday evening. Just 45 of the funds had gains of 10% since January 1.

The data, compiled by Bloomberg, says that 70% of those ESG funds opened before 2015.

ESG Winners and Losers

The 12-year-old Martin Investments Eco Investing and 10-year-old Ari Global Opportunities funds were both up more than 40% to start the year through last Thursday. Their success links to solid wins in healthcare, technology, and biotech. That said, ESG funds, which exploded in size after 2015 are off since the start of the year. The average fund was off 12.2% to start the year compared to a 23.2% drop by the S&P 500. Bloomberg data shows that Parnassus Core Equity had dropped more than 21% to start the year.

Morningstar says that about 33% of the ESG funds they track are less than 10 years old. They manage roughly $140 billion. Morningstar also says that 41% of ESG funds rank in their category’s top quartile. Meanwhile, just 11% sit in their category’s bottom quartile.

“ESG funds, as they mature, are becoming pretty good all-weather funds,” said Jon Hale, who runs Morningstar’s sustainable research practice.


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