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Top Ranked ESG Funds to Decrease in 2023 as Asset Managers BlackRock & Amundi Removes Article 9 Classification, Article 9 Funds Must Hold 100% Sustainable Investments Except for Hedging

6th December 2022 | Hong Kong

The number of top ranked ESG funds (Environmental, Social & Governance) will decrease in 2023 as top asset managers including BlackRock & Amundi remove funds from European Union (EU) Article 9 classification (Article 9 funds must hold 100% sustainable investments except for hedging or for liquidity).  In 2021, under the new rule from European Union (EU) with the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SPDR), asset managers have to label their funds under 3 categories – Article 6 (No Sustainable Investments), Article 8 (Funds promoting any of ESG) or Article 9 (Sustainable investment mandate).  In 2022, some asset managers that had classified their funds as sustainable or under Article 9, were found to be misleading (Greenwashing) as the funds did not meet the sustainable or ESG investment requirement.  In 2022, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon, DWS had been investigated, charged or fined for misleading ESG claims.   More info below:

“ Top Ranked ESG Funds to Decrease in 2023 as Top Asset Managers BlackRock & Amundi Removes European Union Article 9 Classification, Article 9 Funds Must Hold 100% Sustainable Investments Except for Hedging “


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United States SEC Fines Goldman Sachs Asset Management $4 Million for Failure in ESG Policies, Branding & Marketing Funds as ESG to Meet Investors Demand

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24th November 2022 – The United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has finedGoldman Sachs Asset Management $4 million for failure in ESG policies & processes (Environmental, Social & Governance), including no written ESG policies & processes (2017 to 2018) and failing to follow the ESG policies & processes in 2020.  United States SEC Deputy Director of Division of Enforcement and Head of Climate & ESG Task Force Sanjay Wadhwa: “In response to investor demand, advisers like Goldman Sachs Asset Management are increasingly branding and marketing their funds and strategies as ‘ESG’ … … When they do, they must establish reasonable policies and procedures governing how the ESG factors will be evaluated as part of the investment process, and then follow those policies and procedures, to avoid providing investors with information about these products that differs from their practices.”  United States SEC Co-Chief of the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit Andrew Dean: “Today’s action reinforces that investment advisers must develop and adhere to their policies and procedures over their investment processes, including ESG research, to ensure investors receive the advisory services they would expect to receive from an ESG investment.”  


UK Authorities Expected to Scrutinise Asset Managers on ESG Claims & Greenwashing, After BNY Mellon & DWS Fines & Investigations

10th June 2022 – The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is expected to step in to scrutinise and increase oversight on asset managers for misleading ESG Claims & Greenwashing (false or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology), after recent fines & investigations on BNY Mellon & DWS  by the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).  (ESG ~ Environmental, Social & Governance) Read: United States SEC Charges BNY Mellon for Misleading Statements on ESG, Pays $1.5 Million Penalty | Deutsche Bank $970 Billion DWS Group CEO Asoka Woehrmann Resigns after Police Raid on Greenwashing, Head of Corporate Bank Stefan Hoops Appointed as new CEO.


United States SEC Charges BNY Mellon for Misleading Statements on ESG, Pays $1.5 Million Penalty

26th May 2022 – The United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged BNY Mellon Investment Adviser for misstatements and omissions about Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations in making investment decisions for certain mutual funds that it managed, and has agreed to $1.5 million penalty to settle the charges.  Between 2018 to 2021, BNY Mellon had represented or implied in various statements that all investments in the funds had undergone an ESG quality review, and certain funds did not have an ESG quality review score at the time of investment.


DWS Issues Statement on ESG Allegations, Highlights Difference between ESG Integrated AUM and ESG AUM

27th August 2021 – DWS, one of the world’s leading asset managers with more than $1.01 trillion AUM, has issued a statement addressing media reports of former DWS Head of Sustainability Desiree Fixler claiming DWS overstating ESG efforts in its Annual Report in an interview with Wall Street Journal in August 2021.  In the DWS statement, the asset manager rejected the allegations made by the former employee and highlighted the difference between ESG Integrated AUM and ESG AUMin its Annual Report.  DWS classifies AUM as ESG Integrated if the AUM were actively managed and included coverage of ESG data on more than 90% of the portfolio (overall SynRating).  With the claim by former DWS Head of Sustainability Desiree Fixler, DWS share price fell 13% alongside news of regulators from United States and Germany are in the early stage of reviewing the claims.  Since 2020, global asset managers and financial institutions are racing towards a changing global landscape, implementing sustainable investment and ESG policies, setting goals to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, and complying with new global sustainability guidelines and policies(ESG ~ Environmental, Social & Governance, AUM ~ Assets under Management)


Top Private Equity Carlyle Group Executive on Measuring ESG: Running in 1000 Different Directions

11th December 2021 – The top executive and Global Head of Impact one of the world’s leading private equity Carlyle Group Megan Starr, had commented of the challenges of applying ESG dataincluding “running in 1,000 different directions” at the Bloomberg Sustainability Summit on 8th December 2021.  “One of the challenges we have in ESG data and this larger space is that in pursuit of our overall goal, which is a set of meaningful performance-based comparable data, we’ve been running in 1,000 different directions … …  We have framework fatigue.  When I talk to our portfolio companies that want to start doing sustainability reporting at Carlyle. My recommendation sounds something like: start with the GRI [Global Reporting Initiative], then TCFD [Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures], then SFDR [Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation],” said Megan Starr, Carlyle Group Global Head of Impact.


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