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ESG assets to exceed $50 trillion by 2025 research suggests

News Team, 21/07/2021

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) assets are on track to exceed $50 trillion by 2025, representing more than a third of the projected $140.5 trillion in total global assets under management.

The claim comes from Bloomberg Intelligence’s (BI) latest ESG 2021 Midyear Outlook report. It went on to state that ESG assets surpassed $35 trillion in 2020 up from $30.6 trillion in 2018 and $22.8 trillion in 2016 reaching a third of current total global assets under management, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Association.

ESG assets crossing the $35 trillion mark is in-line with BI’s own base-case scenario. Assuming 15 percent growth, half of the pace of the past five years, ESG assets could exceed $50 trillion by 2025. BI added that the world is on track to have a $1 trillion ESG ETF market and an $11 trillion ESG debt market by 2025. Both ESG ETFs and ESG debt are leading the growth among ESG investing strategies.

Adeline Diab, Head of ESG and Thematic Investing EMEA & APAC at Bloomberg Intelligence, said: “The pandemic and the global race to net zero carbon emissions have put ESG criteria into orbit – from niche to mainstream to mandatory. ESG is fundamentally reshaping the financial industry, becoming part of financial reporting. This is in part due to mounting scrutiny from regulators, markets being more sensitive to ESG-related news, and asset owners appointing managers on the basis of ESG across asset classes.

“While Europe has historically led on ESG assets, the U.S. has seen over 40% growth over the past two years and now accounts for $17 trillion, so nearly half of the global $35 trillion ESG assets under management. Europe's ESG product landscape may serve as a barometer for what to expect globally. The region's ESG mutual funds and ETFs accounted for circa 25% of all European products in 2020. Particularly, products are increasingly being rebranded as ESG, as investors seek to attract assets. However, this trend may be a double edged sword as regulators scrutinize these products more closely.”

According to BI’s report, ESG ETFs' inflows are on track to surpass the projected $115 billion in 2021 given over 65% of the inflows have already been recorded in the first half of the year. February 2021 saw the highest monthly inflows recorded with $20.5 billion, beating the previous record of November 2020 at $13 billion. The trend is in line with BI’s bull case scenario which assumes 35 percent per annum growth and, as such, BI expects $1 trillion in ESG ETFs by 2025.

Ms Diab added: “ESG ETF cumulative assets reached around $225 billion in 2020 accounting for almost 15% of global ETF asset growth that year. Though Europe has dominated ESG ETFs, U.S. products have supported the next wave of organic expansion.”

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