7 in 10 Singaporeans to be 'responsible' investors after seeing pandemic effects

They are now considering ESG and sustainability as factors in investing.

About seven in 10 Singaporeans (69%) have become more motivated to invest their money responsibly and sustainably because of COVID-19, according to a study by St. James’s Place (SJP) Wealth Management Asia.

According to the Wealth, Healthy Planet—The Power of Personal Wealth in Sustainable Development study, 64% of Singaporeans now include environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and sustainability as factors in selecting their investment, rising to 72% for investors in higher income brackets or those with income of S$200,000 and above per annum.

It noted that the importance of ESG factors in the investment decisions are significantly higher for the younger investors at 67% among the aged 25 to 34 years old, compared to the 60% amongst investors aged 45 and above. Half of the investors in Singapore also said that they divest from companies that do not operate sustainably.

The study also found that 59% of Singaporeans also actively seek this information before investing.

“COVID-19 has spotlighted many of the critical sustainability issues we face and motivated investors to play a role with how and where they invest. There is a tremendous opportunity for private wealth to play a growing role in driving forward sustainability agendas across Singapore and Asia,” Gary Harvey, CEO of SJP Singapore said.

However, the study also found barriers to responsible investment with 54% of Singaporeans believing that they need to compromise returns to invest responsibly and with 42% expressing concerns about the performance of sustainable investments.

Other concerns for investing more responsibly include lack of knowledge, difficulty in accessing the knowledge, and lack of sustainable investment options.

SJP said, there is a need to bridge the “intention-action gap” through credible financial advice, noting that 87% of Singaporeans demand better financial advice and knowledge in investments.

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