Future Returns: Millennials and Sustainable Investing
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,587,785 (-9.64%)       Melbourne $968,477 (-1.28%)       Brisbane $894,769 (-1.51%)       Adelaide $810,780 (-6.94%)       Perth $764,276 (-4.92%)       Hobart $750,134 (+1.16%)       Darwin $645,801 (-3.38%)       Canberra $1,017,220 (+3.56%)       National $1,010,264 (-5.75%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $725,381 (-1.27%)       Melbourne $488,555 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $499,581 (-5.39%)       Adelaide $411,364 (-4.41%)       Perth $414,273 (-2.57%)       Hobart $498,192 (-6.11%)       Darwin $351,130 (-4.84%)       Canberra $480,942 (-4.46%)       National $506,040 (-3.24%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,047 (+6,578)       Melbourne 14,543 (+5,785)       Brisbane 8,228 (+1,243)       Adelaide 2,741 (+600)       Perth 6,788 (+1,322)       Hobart 1,219 (+48)       Darwin 269 (+17)       Canberra 1,013 (+155)       National 44,848 (+15,748)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,226 (+4,905)       Melbourne 7,846 (+2,295)       Brisbane 1,759 (+304)       Adelaide 499 (+101)       Perth 1,899 (+331)       Hobart 186 (-9)       Darwin 388 (+26)       Canberra 854 (+60)       National 21,657 (+8,013)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $780 ($0)       Melbourne $590 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 (-$10)       Darwin $680 ($0)       Canberra $690 ($0)       National $652 (-$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $725 (-$5)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 (-$10)       Adelaide $450 (-$20)       Perth $600 (+$15)       Hobart $470 (-$10)       Darwin $570 ($0)       Canberra $570 ($0)       National $584 (-$3)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,614 (+7)       Melbourne 5,631 (-24)       Brisbane 4,055 (-125)       Adelaide 1,248 (+4)       Perth 1,830 (+7)       Hobart 380 (+12)       Darwin 153 (-19)       Canberra 664 (-12)       National 19,575 (-150)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 7,725 (-368)       Melbourne 5,038 (-276)       Brisbane 2,044 (-65)       Adelaide 394 (+11)       Perth 594 (-34)       Hobart 139 (+1)       Darwin 285 (-5)       Canberra 590 (-16)       National 16,809 (-752)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.55% (↑)      Melbourne 3.17% (↑)      Brisbane 3.60% (↑)      Adelaide 3.85% (↑)      Perth 4.42% (↑)        Hobart 3.81% (↓)     Darwin 5.48% (↑)        Canberra 3.53% (↓)     National 3.36% (↑)             UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.20% (↑)      Melbourne 6.17% (↑)      Brisbane 6.45% (↑)      Adelaide 5.69% (↑)      Perth 7.53% (↑)      Hobart 4.91% (↑)      Darwin 8.44% (↑)      Canberra 6.16% (↑)      National 6.01% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 36.6 (↓)       Melbourne 40.8 (↓)       Brisbane 36.8 (↓)       Adelaide 31.2 (↓)       Perth 41.1 (↓)       Hobart 41.6 (↓)       Darwin 49.2 (↓)       Canberra 39.9 (↓)       National 39.7 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 36.2 (↓)       Melbourne 39.2 (↓)       Brisbane 33.8 (↓)       Adelaide 30.0 (↓)     Perth 43.3 (↑)      Hobart 43.8 (↑)        Darwin 33.7 (↓)       Canberra 45.3 (↓)       National 38.2 (↓)           
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Future Returns: Millennials and Sustainable Investing

Millenials are more eager than any group to invest funds sustainably according to their value.

By Rob Csernyik
Wed, Nov 24, 2021 2:11pmGrey Clock 4 min

They’re about to inherit a US$30 trillion wealth transfer, and more eager than any group to invest funds sustainably according to their values. But millennials are still the biggest believers that doing so means facing a financial tradeoff, says a new report.

Last month, Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing published its fourth Sustainable Signals white paper, which surveyed 800 American individual investors 18 and over with minimum investable assets of US$100,000. Just over a quarter were millennials aged 25-38.

The findings show sustainable investing interest is reaching new levels, even with the economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Millennial interest in sustainable investing grew by four points to 99%, compared to a six point decline to 79% among the general population.

Yet there’s a paradoxical finding: Despite record levels of interest, more millennials—83% opposed to 70% in the general population—believe the debunked “trade-off” myth that sustainable investing means sacrificing returns.

For Matt Slovik, head of global sustainable finance at Morgan Stanley, it was one of the most interesting findings of the survey.

“This shows that if you look at the percentage of millennials that are interested in sustainable investing, there’s a real desire and recognition that finance can do more,” Stovik says. “And there’s more to finance than simply focusing on the return aspect.”

Morgan Stanley found no trade-off between financial performance between sustainable and traditional U.S. equity funds between 2004 and 2020, and as millennial investors become more educated and move into this investing arena they have the power to transform it.

Slovik spoke to Penta about some of the most surprising insights the survey unearthed about millennial investors.

New Face of Financial Consumption

“There’s a desire to consume finance in many of the same ways that millennials and others have really taken to clothing and food and other things in their lives,” Slovik says. Just as millennial investors ask questions about impact, sourcing, and production when shopping for themselves, they’re starting to look at their portfolios with a similar fine tooth comb. “I think that the finance and the integration of sustainability considerations is a natural evolution outgrowth of that trend.”

Slovik said multiple factors contribute to these changing habits, from the way millennials drive consumption, to where they were in life during the financial crisis, to the impacts they’re seeing from climate change.

“All of that really informs the fact that the data seems to suggest that they’re thinking holistically and more broadly about their investments than I think we’ve seen broadly and historically,” he says.

Greenwashing Won’t Cut It

It’s not just that millennial investors are looking for key data, there’s a higher watermark for what they find. Millennial investors have more sophisticated demands for what it means to do environmental or sustainable good, and lower tolerance for greenwashing, where companies make green claims that aren’t backed up through practices.

Sustainable Signals uncovered a growing concern over how authentic a firm’s ESG activities are. On a question about barriers to including sustainable investing for individuals the second place answer was brand new to this year’s survey: “concerns about authenticity or greenwashing.” (A third, also new, was “lack of tools to measure sustainable impact.”)

“As the market has evolved and matured, investors are focused on understanding what it is that they’re getting,” Slovik says. Though he says we’re entering a clear “data age of ESG” investing, thanks to increasing disclosures from companies and a growing number of data providers, he adds this is still in early days.

Among the resources available to investors, he says, is Morgan Stanley’s own Impact Quotient (or IQ) program that helps provide additional transparency for clients on over 100 environmental or impact preferences.

“As people are better able to understand the impact or exposure or alignment of their investments, you’re also seeing a desire to bring those in line with personal or organizational mission and goals,” Slovik says.

Money Follows Social Movements

Though climate change is still a top concern for millennial investors, there’s evidence that their definition of sustainability is expanding.

“Millennials are looking for more out of finance, and I think this idea of sustainability really does connect with the way that they seem to see the world more broadly,” Slovik says. Two things which have impacted that world view recently have been the pandemic and the racial justice movement.

The pandemic shifted investors’ thematic priorities when it comes to sustainability. Covid-19 led millennials to a heightened interest in addressing public health through their investment activity (69% of millennials compared to 61% of the general population) as well as supporting small businesses (68% to 61% of the general population).

Millennials believe their money has the power to change. The previous Sustainable Signals paper noted 85% of millennials believe their investments could influence climate change, and 89% that their investments could lift people out of poverty.

The 2021 report also finds 75% of millennial investors have made or plan to make investment changes within 12 months in response to racial justice movements. Comparatively, only 50% of the general population planned to do the same.

Slovik says this trend has accelerated since last summer, though it existed before. This type of investment shift can include “supporting diverse-owned, or -run asset managers, to thinking about how individual companies may either excel or lag related to racial equity records,” he adds.

Reprinted by permission of Penta. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: November 23, 2021.



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Even amid two international conflicts and an upcoming U.S. presidential election, some philanthropic leaders are optimistic about the direction of overall giving through 2024.

Penta spoke with heads of several non-profits and leading philanthropists to gauge whether charitable giving will continue its reported slump from 2023 or rebound alongside renewed interest in various political and economic issues.

“Contrary to what some might expect, philanthropy has had resilience in these times,” says Stacy Huston, executive director of Sixdegrees.org, a youth empowerment non-profit based in Virginia founded by actor Kevin Bacon in 2007.

Huston’s view echoes recent data from the biennial Bank of America Study of Philanthropy published last year, which found that while affluent giving is largely down, the value of the average philanthropic gift is up 19%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

The notion of what these gifts look like is changing, and is partially responsible for the growth. Philanthropy can be executed through more avenues than ever, whether through celebrity association, tech titans stewarding large endowments, or  athletes using their platforms to advocate for and create meaningful change.

“The industry and movement is creating new models, and you want to get it right,” says Scott Curran, CEO of Chicago-based Beyond Advisers. “No one should take their foot off the gas pedal.”

Curran spent a number of years with the Clinton Foundation in its infancy before leaving in 2016 to open his own consultancy, which focuses on philanthropy strategy at the highest levels. Curran and his team work with celebrities, athletes, multi-generational family foundations, and other affluent givers who need guidance in directing their philanthropic efforts. It’s a growing area of interest: Over half of affluent households with a net worth between US$5 million and US$20 million have, or are planning to establish, “some kind of giving vehicle” within the next three years, according to the Bank of America report.

Corporate philanthropy, rather than individual giving, is the cornerstone of Marcus Selig’s work as chief conservation officer at the National Forest Foundation, a Congressionally chartered non-profit based in Montana responsible for protecting millions of acres of public lands.

“Our outlook is business as usual,” he says, advising that giving may slow down, but not enough for the foundation to change course.

Factors such as political polarisation in the U.S. and the wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East are pushing nonprofits to consider their niche, and how they might work with other groups, both on the corporate and philanthropic levels, Selig says.

“It leads to a little more sharing on the ground in what needs to be done,” he adds.

Steve Kaufer , founder of Massachusetts-headquartered e-commerce giving platform Give Freely and founder of TripAdvisor, says that the economy has a much bigger role in election years, as he looks to build and grow something that can act as a “counterbalance.”

“There’s a trend towards democratisation, and acting collectively can lead to greater impact,” he says.

Kaufer’s new platform hopes to leverage the everyday philanthropist through online shopping dollars to benefit major charity partners like UNICEF and charity:water, who earn funds as shoppers choose an organisation to benefit through an online clickthrough process.

“Whether a good year or bad year, e-commerce will continue to keep growing,” he says. “Nobody doubts that.”

Whether a legacy foundation, corporation or individual, the political landscape this year is requiring some to exercise caution as they consider what their own charitable actions might be and how it could be viewed more broadly. For the personal philanthropist, every move is now scrutinised more closely. On the nonprofit side, entities are exercising more due diligence to understand if a specific donor aligns with their mission and that there aren’t any underlying issues that could cause greater pushback.

“You have to be able to walk the walk,” Huston says. “For example, we’ve had to turn down very large donor checks from corporations because there’s a Reddit stream calling them out on their human rights practices.”

She adds that even a routine charity activation could now be aligned with a political party, and that adds complexities to how a higher-profile organisation like Six Degrees can activate, especially as the film Footloose turns 40 in 2024 (which Bacon starred in).

“A lot of organisations and states want to align themselves with this feel good moment, and we should be able to stand side by side with everyone, but we have to be aware,” she says.

Another topic attracting donor interest today is  mental health, an area that historically has been underfunded and under-resourced by philanthropy, according to Two Bridge partner Harris Schwartzberg, who has been closely linked to the mental health space for more than a decade.

Today, the issue for mental health nonprofits is less about resources and more about societal divisiveness and polarisation around the topic. There’s an “overwhelming demand” for solutions, but the space is in a “perfect storm” for the broader political issues to make things worse, Schwartzberg says.

In Curran’s opinion, the storms brewing are troublesome, but they are also creating new opportunities for corporate and personal giving. The  current state of philanthropy is one of “dynamic, expansive, and blurred lines,” meaning a careful blending of targeted giving combined with an understanding of the broader geopolitical landscape could lead to a successful overall philanthropic strategy.

“There are a lot of headlines that distract, but shouldn’t,” he says. “2024 needs more serious philanthropists than ever.”

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