Crystal launches ESG portfolios following client demand

Crystal Wealth Partners has launched a range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) portfolios following client demand, which it says has been the biggest change in how clients view their investments.

Louise Lakomy, Crystal Wealth Partners director, said increased ESG interest had been the biggest difference she noticed in her current clients compared to ones five years ago.

“More and more clients over the last five years have been asking us about ESG and asking for screening in their portfolios and I would say more of them are female,” Lakomy said.

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“People are telling us they want to invest ethically and we have launched an ESG model in light of this.”

The ESG models, which could be applied to firm’s existing range of portfolios such as growth or balanced, scored companies and excluded those which failed to meet a set criteria.

However, Lakomy pointed out it was not a case of ‘one and done’ and that ESG was an ongoing process.

“ESG measurement is not a stagnant process, it is ever changing, what’s bad today might not be bad tomorrow and no company should be tarred with one brush,” Lakomy said.

She gave the example of Woodside Petroleum which had been criticised for taking on oil assets in a merger with BHP but that, she pointed out, the company also had a carbon-resilient portfolio, was lowering its greenhouse gas emissions and working with climate science researchers.

Meanwhile, she said the firm had not yet made any acquisitions but that it continued to be on the hunt for viable advice firms.

“We are always in discussions but it has to be the right fit for the company. There were some who thought they had could get better value after COVID-19 but now, with the subsequent lockdowns, we have an even bigger COVID-19 problem,” Lakomy said.

“There are a few advisers hanging around in the market but they will have to sell their companies soon if they don’t pass or don’t want to sit the FASEA [Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority] exam.”

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