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Mercer sees SRI becoming mainstream

GLOBAL - Mercer Investment Consulting says socially responsible investment practices are becoming mainstream among investment managers.

The firm has surveyed 190 managers. It said: “Findings show that, on average, investment managers are becoming more convinced that the adoption of SRI practices and strategies will become commonplace.”

It said that 89% predict that active ownership will be a mainstream practice within 10 years while 73% said social and/or environmental corporate performance indictors will become mainstream within 10 years. Sixty-five percent expected screening would be mainstream within 10 years.

"In the past, it was just a small group of organizations that were interested in SRI, but there are a growing number of mainstream investors who believe these issues can have an impact on long-term investment performance," said Tim Gardener, global leader of Mercer IC. "Investment managers' views are clearly changing."

European managers predicted the most short-term activity would “be seen in relation to the integration of social and/or environmental criteria, and positive and negative screening”.

US managers were the most sceptical, with more than 60% saying they believe that screening and the integration of social and/or environmental factors will never become mainstream. But Asian and Australian managers were more positive.

"We see a range of investor approaches to SRI across regions," said Jane Ambachtsheer, Mercer IC's global head of SRI. "And although managers' views do vary, it is interesting to note that nearly all predict that SRI practices will become mainstream."

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