Responsible Investing: Access Denied
Retail investors are increasingly demanding responsible investments. Retail investors also require the services of an advisor. Many responsible funds may not be responsible. This is due to many factors, including incomplete disclosures, and lack of financialization of risks. The thesis shows that traditional mutual funds, while structurally able to provide responsible investments, have not provided responsible holdings to mass affluent clientele. Institutional investors, and wealthy retail investors, have options to avail themselves of responsible investments; mass affluent investors have less choice to invest responsibly. The thesis recommends enhanced material disclosures and financial valuation models to better identify responsible investments. Advisors and investors do not have access to the majority of responsible investments, nor are advisors properly trained or compensated to provide advice on these products. Regulatory changes to advisor licensing and advisor training are recommended to address these problems, to provide mass affluent investors with better access to responsible investments.