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Report: Millennials, Boomers split on issue-driven investing

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Focused chemists in lab coats and safety goggles making experiments.

Younger investors are more willing to put money behind environmental and social goals, even if that’s costlier, a survey of investors indicates.

The world’s largest asset management companies have come out swinging on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, with heavy hitters like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street declaring their intention to use their proxy-voting power to press for everything from boardroom diversity to net-zero carbon emissions.

But is that what individual investors really want? Maybe. Maybe not.

That’s the mixed message from a new survey of investors released by Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and the Hoover Institution.

The survey, which polled 2,470 investors with savings ranging from less than $10,000 to more than $500,000, revealed sharp differences along generational lines, with younger shareholders saying they are far more eager to have fund managers pursue ESG objectives—and also far more willing to risk higher losses in the process.

Overall, 83% of all respondents said they think their personal views should be considered when mutual fund managers use their shares to vote on environmental or social issues. Their views diverged from there.

While approximately two-thirds of millennial and Gen Z investors said they were very concerned about environmental and social issues like carbon emissions and income inequality, roughly two-thirds of investors 58 years old and older said they were only somewhat or not at all concerned.

And while the average investor in their twenties or thirties was willing to lose between 6% and 10% of their investments to see companies improve their environmental practices, the average Baby Boomer was unwilling to lose anything.

David Larcker, a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor emeritus of accounting and a fellow at the Hoover Institution discusses their findings—and what they could mean for fund managers:

The post Report: Millennials, Boomers split on issue-driven investing appeared first on Futurity.

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