Morgan Stanley Offering Advisors Sustainable Investing Platform

Friday, April 27, 2012

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is launching a platform for its financial advisors to offer clients investments with positive social and environmental impact in what appears to be a major push to offer sustainable investing to mainstream investors.

Although many broker-dealers allow their advisors to offer sustainable investments to retail clients, few have specific advisor platforms for that purpose.

MSSB made an announcement today about the new platform at the U.S. State Department-sponsored Global Impact Economy Forum.

The firm’s new Investing With Impact Platform will offer an investment approach targeting risk-adjusted financial returns, MSSB said.

“This is an important initiative for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney,” said Andy Saperstein, MSSB’s head of U.S. wealth management, in a prepared release. “We hear frequently from clients and financial advisors about the importance of integrating sustainability themes into their investment portfolios. Now through the Investing with Impact Platform, MSSB is able to offer our clients an action-oriented approach to combine financial returns and their personal values.”

MSSB said the platform will offer public and private market products to clients through their financial advisors and is the first phase of the firm’s plan to meet investors’ desires for investment opportunities with positive social and environmental impact without sacrificing investment performance.

“Our goal is to build this into a robust offering to meet our clients’ needs, regardless of their impact priorities or what their portfolio fit might require,” said Paul Hatch, MSSB’s head of investment strategy & client solutions. “With over four million clients who have more than $1.7 trillion of investable assets, we are in a unique position to extend the reach of an ‘investing with impact’ program to one of the largest sets of investors in the world. Even a fraction of this total represents a substantial amount that could be invested in support of the common good.”

MSSB quoted statistics from a 2010 report issued by US SIF, an association for companies and others involved with sustainable and responsible investing, that show nearly $1 in $8 in the United States, or $3.07 trillion, follows investment strategies that consider corporate responsibility and societal concerns.

Source: Financial Advisor (link opens in a new window)

impact investing