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ESG's Early Adopters

Investors often think of emerging markets as taking cues from their developed counterparts—for example, by aiming to boost consumption and to achieve productivity gains. It may come as a surprise that some emerging economies have made an earlier start in adopting environmental, social and governance (ESG) conventions than many of their developed market counterparts. Among the significant ESG developments in emerging markets are the promotion of stronger ESG and corporate governance frameworks by exchanges and regulators. Their progress is particularly timely, given investors' increasing focus on ESG: Signatories to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investing grew at an annual rate of more than 20% in 2019.1 In addition, 103 stock exchanges worldwide now participate in the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, representing over US $88 quadrillion in assets.2
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More Action, Less Talk: The Case for Racial Equity Investing

Life in the financial sector sometimes feels like swimming upstream in a river of alphabet soup — there are so many acronyms to remember. There are the titles we tack onto our names—MBA, AIF, CPWA, CFP, CFA, AAMS—and, in the world of impact investing, where I’ve spent my career, there’s SRI and ESG investing, where we like to talk about ROIs, KPIs, and CDFIs.
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ESG Data Isn't Telling the Right Story

When I started my writing career as an analyst for Morningstar, what made it work was my appreciation for data. Indeed, one reason I like financial communication is that it aspires to speak truthfully to a sophisticated understanding of the world, as represented by data. And that’s what makes it so hard for me to utter this sentence:
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Which Countries’ Equities Outperformed During COVID-19?

Brad Hanson, Managing Director Magni Global Asset Management   Magni Global Asset Management LLC (Magni) updated its analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on equity valuations of countries for the first half of 2020. The trend of equity outperformance of the better-responding countries increased by more than a half percent in just one month to 7.80% YTD through June versus 7.26% YTD through May. The Global COVID19 Index continued to be used in this update as the measure of the effectiveness of a country’s response and we excluded the US from this particular analysis(1). As part of the overall analysis, Magni reviewed a variety of characteristics of the countries with a better response to the pandemic. One of the most important distinguishing characteristics across the better performing markets was the prevalence of female leaders.
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Shareholder Advocacy: A Positive Use of Power

I’ve aspired to work toward a just and sustainable world for most of my life. My initial interest stemmed, in part, from feelings of dread and urgency about the trajectory of society. Driven by a personal goal of sustainability, I have centered my life around my values by living with my family in an off-the-grid house powered by solar energy and growing our own food.
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