Younger UHNW investors are more engaged with socially responsible investing than their older counterparts.
Socially responsible investing is not a priority for a majority of Ultra High Net Worth investors, according to a wealth level study conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner.
There is less interest in these types of investments than there was five years ago, the study finds. On a scale of 100, with 0 equaling less interest and 100 signifying more interest, UHNW respondents ranked 44.25.
Socially responsible investing encompasses an estimated $3.07 trillion out of $25.2 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace, according to US SIF, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. These types of investments encourage corporations to improve their practices on environmental, social and governance issues. This is different from impact investing, which targets social or environmental challenges while generating financial returns. “It’s going into a developing world in a very kind of Indiana Jones way to throw money and resources at social enterprises to create an impact,” The Green Book author Thomas Kostigen told Millionaire Corner in 2012. “In doing so, it forges the destiny there and promulgates the economy or the local community to a better life.”
Generally speaking, using their wealth to help others is a concern of less than one-fourth (24 percent) of investors with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million (not including primary residence). It is more a priority for Mass Affluent investors (30 percent) and Millionaire investors (28 percent).
Why the comparative lack of interest in socially responsible investing among the ultra wealthy? Primarily, our research found, UHNW investors are laser-focused on financial objectives (76 percent), while almost half (46 percent) said that corporate claims of social responsibility are nothing more than public relations.
Just over four-in-ten UHNW investors believe that corporations should do all they can to generate a profit and let individuals to use their investment returns to enact social change if they wish. Thirty-eight percent of UHNW respondents said they have never given the issue much thought.
Younger UHNW investors, though, are more engaged with socially responsible investing than their older counterparts. More than one-third (35 percent) of those under the age of 45 rank social responsibility as a primary investment selection factor, compared just 19 percent of UHNW investors overall. They express more interest in these types of investments than they did five years ago; the only age group to break 50 on the 0-100 scale.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.