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09:06, 30 nov 2021

The attention towards sustainable financial products is growing more and more

Since the pandemic outbreak, 35% of SRI product subscribers have declared they have increased the share of this type of investment in their portfolios. 57% of them are planning to do so in the future

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Some charging stations for electric cars in Sweden (Karol Serewis / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)
Some charging stations for electric cars in Sweden (Karol Serewis / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Radiocor

Nine out of ten savers who have invested in sustainable financial instruments (SRI) are satisfied and ready to increase their share. That is one of the facts that emerge from a survey commissioned by the Forum for Sustainable Finance on the occasion of the SRI Week, which involved a thousand investors and savers over 25, who invested at least one thousand euros over the last year. Forum for Sustainable Finance is a non-profit association founded in 2001, whose mission is fostering sustainable investments to spread the integration of environmental, social and governance criteria. Its survey inevitably had to deal with COVID impacts on the behaviour of savers.

A considerable propensity to save, greater concern translated into lower risks and massive attention to sustainable financial products are the most prominent features emerging after almost two years from the outbreak of the COVID-19 event. Since the onset of the pandemic, 35% of SRI product subscribers say they increased the share of this type of investment in their portfolio, and 57% think they are likely to do so in the future. There is, therefore, a high satisfaction rate for investments that have been able to maintain performance in line with expectations during a phase of severe turbulence and great uncertainty.  

Furthermore, the survey, upstream of the analysis on the investors' behaviour, already sensitive to these issues, also uncovered that the percentage of those who in the last two years have heard about sustainable investments is growing, compared to two years ago, by an estimated 20% more. A knowledge, in reality, that is still superficial: answers of the sample can let us infer that one in three savers does not know how to express an opinion on the profitability and riskiness of sustainable investments in the long term. In any case, more information than in the past come from those advising the saver, be it the bank, the insurer or the financial consultant.  
 
Another effect of the pandemic: this type of saver has a more extensive perception of the importance of ESG issues. Compared to two years ago, some environmental problems are more cited than others as the reason backing investment choices (renewable energy and energy efficiency, for example). Awareness of social issues is also growing (health and safety and food waste prevention, among others).  
 
A change in behaviour highlighted by Alessandro Marchesin, CEO of Sella Sgr: "In recent years, the attention of savers and public opinion, initially focused on environmental issues, has shifted towards social and governance, considering sustainability at a global level ".

Going back to findings from the survey, the impact of the pandemic on financial choices has led to an increase in the share of those (about half of the interviewed sample) who are changing their habits and financial choices. 40% of them shows the will to set aside more massive sums for the future of the family as well as paying greater attention to market trends and, in general, the economy. A majority of this cluster then indicates to rely more on their advisor than the recent past. Therefore, looking at investors in sustainable products, the survey carried out by Bva Doxa shows that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the approach to investments. On one side, the need for direct control over investments has increased while, on the other hand, the spotlight has turned on some key sectors in this period. That is the case for sectors most involved and therefore considered the most promising from the investor's point of view: pharmaceuticals, healthcare and digital technology.