Four in five Australians wants their money in superannuation, banks and other investments to be invested responsibly but, at the same time, believe financial service providers need to do a better job of meeting expectations, according to the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
In its From Value to Riches report, the organisation said the appetite for sustainable and responsible investing continued to grow, up 28% from 2020, and this extended to their choice of adviser.
In particular, the bar was high for financial advisers to be more knowledgeable about responsible investment which became more important than prioritisation of investment returns for the first time.
Some 64% wanted their adviser to have knowledge of responsible investment, up from 54%, compared to 58% who prioritised investment returns.
Almost half (47%) wanted their adviser to provide them with responsible investment recommendations and 43% wanted them to know which responsible products were independently certified.
The RIAA study results’ were consistent with the findings from the research from behavioural finance, Oxford Risk, which said that advisers who were unable to demonstrate adequate commitment to environmental, social, governance (ESG) investing could start losing clients.
According to the RIAA’s study, 74% of Australians considered moving to another provider if they found out their current fund was investing in companies engaged in activities inconsistent with their values.
Simon O’Connor, chief executive of RIAA, said: “Australians are demanding more transparency from their providers, with 75% wanting to know which companies their super fund, bank or other investments are invested in. They are attuned to the threat of greenwashing, and it is holding many people back, particularly when it comes to switching to an ‘ethical’ bank.
“Independent verification of sustainability claims is becoming key to winning trust. Three-quarters of Australians say they would be more likely to invest in responsible investment products that have been independently certified by a third party.”