How Hedge Fund Managers Can Design an ESG Investing Policy (Part Two of Two)

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for private fund advisers that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment processes (ESG investing), in part because many early adopters of ESG investing in the hedge fund space have done so at the request of their investors. Consequently, managers have had to develop a variety of approaches to meet the diverse needs of investors without uniform requirements. Some large institutional investors with ESG investing criteria seek to bypass commingled funds and allocate to separately managed accounts, thereby allowing them to dictate the ESG parameters that apply to their accounts. A benefit to an ESG-sensitive investor of investing in a separately managed account is that it provides transparency into the portfolio to (1) ensure the investment manager adheres to the account’s ESG investment parameters; and (2) evaluate the efficacy of the investment from an ESG perspective. Not all investors, however, have sufficient assets to pursue their mandates through managed accounts, forcing them to allocate to managers applying ESG investing policies to commingled funds. This second article in our two-part series discusses various options available to hedge fund managers when adopting an ESG policy and outlines some of the due diligence inquiries managers with an ESG policy should expect to receive from investors. The first article explored the development of ESG investing and its prevalence in the hedge fund space.

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