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ATOMIX survey reveals increased interest in Responsible Investing

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      By Anthony Eames, Director of Responsible Investment Strategy, Calvert Research and Management and Jessica Milano, Director of ESG Research, Calvert Research and Management

      Boston - Responsible Investing continues to be a key area of focus for financial advisors according to the latest Eaton Vance Advisor Top-of-Mind Index (ATOMIX) survey of more than 600 advisors.

      Nearly eight out of 10 (79%) reported that they incorporate Responsible Investing into their practice. Of those, 44% said it is an important part of their practices, up from 31% in Q2 2018. In addition, 35% reported increased interest from clients and 60% said Responsible Investing is an ongoing topic of discussion.

      Information gap - and Calvert's response

      This reflects what we have seen at Calvert. Responsible Investing has moved from a niche product to become increasingly mainstream. As Responsible Investing gains in popularity, the result is increased dialogue betweenadvisors and their clients on how clients can see their values reflected in their investment portfolios.

      More than half (56%) of advisors who responded to the ATOMIX survey said Responsible Investing is driving new business to their practices. However, only 35% classified themselves as "very well-informed" about Responsible Investing.

      Calvert is working to bridge this information gap by offering advisors enhanced tools and educational programs. Offering a full suite of Responsible Investing solutions can be a key differentiator for advisors trying to deepen and expand their client relationships.

      Research powers Responsible Investing

      Advisors recognize the value of both qualitative and quantitative research behind Responsible Investing products. Eighty-seven percent said a robust research program is important to environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis, but 67% said it is difficult for investors to obtain measurable quantitative sustainability data from companies. Moreover, 54% reported they don't understand the connection between ESG performance and financial performance.

      At Calvert, we believe financial materiality is the key to effective, impactful ESG research. Calvert's proprietaryresearch process leverages multiple data sources to capture and analyze ESG factors that we believe drive companyfinancial performance over the long term.

      Impact and engagement remain important

      Material and measurable results are also critical; 93% of advisors said demonstrating the impact of ESG investments is important to them and their clients. Taking an active role factors into Responsible Investing outcomes, with 82% of advisors stating it is important to engage with company leadership to drive positive business and ESG outcomes.

      It's important to recognize that not all ESG strategies are created equal. Calvert's investment strategies follow the Four Pillars of Responsible Investing - performance, research, engagement and impact. We believe that our strategies encourage investors to seek competitive returns with portfolios that reflect their values and help drive measurable, positive change.

      Bottom line: The latest ATOMIX survey results indicate that Responsible Investing continues to draw both advisor and client interest. Calvert's research process focuses on financially material ESG issues to better consider their potential impact on company performance.