Wealth Advisers Risk Failing Investors on ESG Suitability Tech
Wealth advisers risk failing investors on suitability by not using technology appropriately to measure ESG preferences and being caught up in the ‘green rush’, behavioural finance experts Oxford Risk warns.
It argues that tech should be used as a microscope to determine investors’ ESG preferences but too often is acting as a blindfold with the risk that investors are not being matched to the right investments for them.
Oxford Risk is urging wealth advisers to make better use of technology to provide improved services to clients based around understanding their needs through detailed profiling.
Key problems it highlights include poor ESG labelling on funds which are becoming as “meaningless as the word natural on a food label” and failing to record investors’ individual preferences which are often complex and contradictory.
It warns that a focus on what can be measured risks products being developed not to help investors meet their social goals, but to game the measurement system.
Oxford Risk’s research shows most investors want the emotional comfort that ESG investments do what they claim to do and seek independent parties they can trust to verify those claims. The onus is on wealth advisers to match suitable ESG solutions to individual preferences. However, properly constructed ESG profiling provides a double bonus for wealth managers by increasing the amount investors put in ESG investments by up to four times and making investors with high ESG preferences much more likely to invest overall.
Greg B Davies, PhD, Head of Behavioural Finance, Oxford Risk said: “As the ESG industry expands, so does recognition of its darker elements. There are signs of trouble ahead.
“And it’s likely to be unsuspecting and unsatisfied investors left picking up the tab. Investor demand for investments with some sort of socially conscious edge is obviously rising. But it is in asking: ‘what is it, exactly, that they want?’ that we start to see difficulties.”
Oxford Risk believes advisers need to determine how much ESG the investor should have, and then how much the investor is prepared to balance greater impact against financial returns.
Advisers then need to select investments based on investor preferences including considering their relative focus on E vs. S vs. G.
Oxford Risk’s behavioural tools assess financial personality and preferences as well as changes in investors’ financial situations and, supplemented with other behavioural information and demographics, build a comprehensive profile. Oxford Risk’s financial personality tests can measure up to 18 distinct dimensions, of which six reflect preferences for ESG investing.
It believes the best investment solution for each investor needs to be anchored on stable and accurate measures of risk tolerance. Behavioural profiling then provides an opportunity for investors to learn about their own attitudes, emotions, and biases, helping them prepare for the anxiety that is likely to arise. This should be used to help investors control their emotions, not define the suitable risk of the portfolio itself.
Snake Island Port Makes History with $1 Billion Private Investment in Concession Agreement
Snake Island Port has achieved a significant milestone by securing a momentous $1 billion private investment through a historic concession agreement.
This landmark agreement is set to transform the port’s operations and propel it to new heights.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerdock, Maher Jarmakani, expressed his elation over this remarkable achievement. Jarmakani affirmed that the 45-year concession agreement with the Federal Government would not only allow for an expanded operational scope but also attract substantial private investment, amounting to an impressive $1 billion.
Jarmakani conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to the Federal Government for its unwavering support in enabling the expansion of Nigerdock’s operations. This collaboration serves as a testament to the government’s commitment to fostering partnerships that drive economic growth, job creation, and the development of critical infrastructure.
Nigerdock, a multipurpose port facility situated within the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone (SIIFZ), occupies an expansive 85-hectare area and encompasses three terminals. The facility specializes in ship repair, logistics, and free zone solutions. Recognizing the potential of Snake Island Port, the Presidency awarded Nigerdock free zone and port status back in 2005, leading to the establishment of the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone. In subsequent years, the Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigeria Customs Service granted approvals for direct shipping and cargo handling operations, respectively.
With the new concession agreement, Snake Island Port is poised for transformative growth. The extended operational scope and influx of private investment are expected to attract both domestic and international businesses, stimulating economic development in the region. This milestone aligns perfectly with Nigerdock’s long-term vision of becoming a globally recognized maritime operator, further enhancing its contribution to Nigeria’s economy.
The approval of the concession agreement not only emphasizes the Nigerian government’s commitment to public-private partnerships but also underscores its dedication to driving infrastructure projects nationwide. The collaboration between Nigerdock and the Federal Government sets a positive precedent, fostering an environment conducive to investment and economic prosperity.
Nigerian Banks and Telcos Struggle to Resolve N100bn USSD Debt
Nigerian banks and telecommunication firms are currently struggling to resolve a N100bn Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt.
This debt has been accumulating over the past few years due to a disagreement over non-remittance of USSD fees.
USSD services have been essential to financial inclusion in Nigeria, with a large number of Nigerians using it to access banking services through their mobile phones. However, despite its significance, banks and telcos have been at loggerheads since 2019 over the non-remittance of USSD fees.
The accumulated USSD debt was initially estimated at N32bn in 2019, and by November 2022, it had risen to N80bn. Unfortunately, it has now increased to over N100bn as banks and telcos are yet to come to a resolution.
According to Gbolahan Awonuga, the Head of Operations of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, banks and telcos are still locked in discussions with no way forward. He said, “the debt has continued to increase, and it is now over N100bn.”
A source in one of the telecoms companies also disclosed that banks owe one of the telcos about N100bn. This amount, the source said, does not cut it as it could be estimated at N150bn, including debts owed to other telcos.
However, the recovery process has been frustrating for telcos as banks refuse to acknowledge the debt, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) supports them. The source said, “no progress has been made simply because the banks have dug in their heels and are refusing to accept that they owe us money, not to talk of repaying.”
This issue threatens financial inclusion as many underserved Nigerians rely on USSD services to access banking services. It is essential that banks and telcos resolve this issue quickly to ensure that businesses and individuals can continue to carry out transactions seamlessly.
Foreign Investment in Nigerian Exchange Declines by Over 50% in One Month
The Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) has reported a significant decrease in foreign investment in its markets.
According to the Domestic & Foreign Portfolio Investment Report for March 2023, transactions conducted by foreign investors fell by 53.16% from N19.62bn in February to N9.19bn in March, equivalent to about $42.51m to $19.94m respectively.
The decline marks a considerable setback in the efforts to attract foreign investment into Nigeria.
The report shows that total transactions conducted by domestic investors also dropped by 19.06% from N169.29bn in February to N137.03bn in March.
However, the decline in foreign investment was much more significant, with the total value of transactions by foreign investors decreasing by 88% compared to transactions by domestic investors, which stood at 96% in March 2023.
The decrease in foreign investment is attributed to several factors, including the uncertainty around exchange rates and the unfavorable business environment.
Prof Olawale Ajai of the Lagos Business School pointed out that insecurity and the opaque Naira foreign exchange regime have made Nigeria unattractive to foreign investors.
He also noted that low national productivity, infrastructure deficits, and poor human capital development have contributed to the decline.
The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, also highlighted the forex challenges facing foreign investors, citing the delay in accessing foreign exchange for the repatriation of their dividends or capital.
He added that the reduced proportion of foreign investors in the Nigerian capital market was not permanent, and he expected the foreign exchange situation in Nigeria to improve substantially.
The decline in foreign investment is a cause for concern for the Nigerian economy, which is heavily reliant on foreign investment to drive growth.
The government must take urgent steps to address the challenges facing foreign investors and create a more favorable business environment to attract more foreign investment.
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