Legg Mason says $159bn of its long-term AUM is now invested in ESG

Twenty-five percent of total assets now linked with ESG

Legg Mason, the venerable Baltimore-based US funds giant, says that $159bn (€134.5bn) of its total long-term assets under management (roughly 25% of its total AUM) is now invested in environmental, social or governance (ESG) products or strategies.

New York-listed Legg Mason – which has $754bn in total AUM — said it has risen over 76% from 2012 to 2014. “AND since 2014, it’s increased another 33%.”

Eight of nine of its affiliates are signatories of the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

It cites its ESG leaders at its ClearBridge Investments and Martin Currie arms, Mary Jane McQuillen and David Sheasby respectively. Both firms received an A+ Rating from the PRI based on assessment of responsible investing activities for 2016.

“Increasingly, today’s investors expect competitive investment returns while expecting their investments to have a positive impact,” the 118-year-old firm says in its new CSR report.
Other affiliates include Brandywine Global, Western Asset, Clarion Partners, EnTrustPermal, RARE Infrastructure and Royce & Associates.

And this year ClearBridge launched two ESG ETFs, the ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG ETF and the ClearBridge Dividend Strategy ESG ETF.“We believe in ESG as a fundamental tenet of our active investment approach and our affiliates are committed to the integration of ESG factors into their respective investment processes,” said Chairman and CEO Joseph Sullivan in a statement.

“We believe in ESG as a fundamental tenet of our active investment approach”

During the year, Sullivan signed the workplace diversity pledge, the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.

Elsewhere rival State Street has today announced it has enhanced its portfolio of ESG offerings with the launch of ESGX, a new analytics tool designed to provide information to help clients bring “transparency and standardization” to their ESG investing. State Street also announced today agreements with new data providers, including Arabesque, the quant ESG house, to complement its existing agreement with TruValue Labs, announced earlier this year. ESGX has been by the Boston giant’s data and analytics arm, State Street Global Exchange.