Amid a pandemic, healthcare has remained front and centre as the cause that aligns most with personal priorities when making an impact investment, according to a survey by global asset manager American Century Investments.
The firm has released study results showing individual responses from the US, UK and Germany, examining generational and gender-based attitudes towards investing and ESG.
Guillaume Mascotto, vice-president, head of ESG and investment stewardship at American Century reported for those considering impact investing in the US and UK, healthcare was a top priority.
“While healthcare ranked lower for respondents in Germany, the threat of COVID-19 has put a global spotlight on health and wellness,” Mr Mascotto said.
“In any case, our ESG team interpreted the results as an elevation of the social [pillar] within the ESG trilogy.”
When asked about which cause mattered most, healthcare, disease prevention and cures topped the list for the respondents in the US and UK at 30 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, which was largely consistent with the survey in prior years.
For German participants, the environment and sustainability ranked first. Other causes that were selected were improved education, mitigating poverty, racial equity and social justice, and alignment with religious principles.
But interest in impact investing had dipped slightly year-on-year. In the US, the appeal decreased to 51 per cent, from 56 per cent in 2019. It was still significantly up from 2016, when it was 32 per cent.
Majority of individuals unaware of impact investing
Returns, risks, fees and length of time the money will be invested were voted the most important factors when making investments across all three countries. Impact on society was at the bottom of the list across the nations.
The majority of respondents across all three countries were not familiar with the concept of impact investing. Germany had the lowest awareness, 70 per cent expressing unfamiliarity.
Almost half (48 per cent) of the respondents in the UK found the concept of impact investing appealing in 2020 compared to 59 per cent in 2019.
Meanwhile only 25 per cent of German respondents found the segment alluring.
Interest was highest among Millennials (aged 21 to 38) on average, with 60 per cent in the US finding it appealing, compared to 64 per cent in the UK and 45 per cent in Germany.
Appeal among Generation X (ages 39 to 54) was 64 per cent in the US, 50 percent in the UK and 36 per cent in Germany.
For Baby Boomers (55 to 73), interest was lower – with 46 per cent expressing interest in the US, 34 per cent in the UK and 26 per cent in Germany.