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ESG not a big factor in fund selection, study shows

Six in 10 professional fund buyers see performance track record as the most important factor in selecting funds, while environment, social and governance factors are among those given the least consideration, according to a study by CoreData Research.

The research firm surveyed 200 researchers and analysts across Asia, Europe, U.K., Latin America and North America through an online survey in November 2019. Respondents in the survey are responsible for the fund selection process in their respective organizations.

In the study, 53% of professional fund buyers said investment philosophy is one of the most important factors in selecting funds, while 51% looked at the investment selection process. Fund selectors also showed that they look beyond manager tenure, asset manager reputation and a fund's size when selecting funds, as only 23%, 21% and 18% of the participants, respectively, said they give importance to these factors.

Only 7% of respondents said sustainability or ESG factors were one of the most important fund selection drivers.

"The overriding importance of performance has seen professional buyers adopt a short-term mentality at the expense of more long-term strategic goals such as incorporating ESG," according to the study.