These misconceptions about socially responsible investing

How do socially responsible investment (SRI) funds differ from others? In the classic approach, the management company, in choosing the companies in which it invests, is based only on financial criteria (their valuation, their profit prospects, the quality of their management, etc.).

Conversely, for SRI funds, which can be purchased in a securities account, a share savings plan (PEA), life insurance or a employee savings account, it examines additional criteria. -financial.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Why responsible investing has been slow to attract savers

These criteria, summarized under the acronym ESG – for environment, social and governance – therefore take into account, in addition to financial data, not only the environmental impact of companies and that of the products or services they offer, but also their social policy (salaries, training, etc.) and their governance methods (management structure, relations with suppliers).


To do this, management companies must set up teams dedicated to these analyzes and purchase ESG data from large specialized agencies. So many additional expenses compared to the only examination of the financial elements … Enough to cast suspicion on these funds: 36% of respondents questioned for the barometer 2020 of the Responsible Investment Forum and the rating agency Vigeo Eiris say that SRI management is more expensive.

These managers also have a constraint that the others do not have: they are led to exclude, or to underweight, certain companies that do not fall within the canons of sustainability because they come from the world of oil and coal. , or related to the arms industry or genetically modified organisms.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Green, ethical, sustainable … a little lexicon of so-called “responsible” finance

Do these expenses and constraints linked to SRI penalize these funds? No, demonstrate a study (“Costs and performance of funds marketed in France and incorporating an extra-financial approach between 2012 and 2018”, by Pierre-Emmanuel Darpeix and Natacha Mosson) published in May by the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).

“We could have feared, write the authors, that funds integrating extra-financial approaches cost more and underperform their standard equivalents. This is not what this first analysis shows: in general, between 2012 and 2018, we do not find a significant difference in the returns (not corrected for risk), and we show that the fund shares taking into account extra-financial criteria would have tended to cost less than the others. “

You have 57.86% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.