Future Returns: Sustainable Investing Poised To Gain Assets
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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: Sustainable Investing Poised To Gain Assets

The Global Sustainable Investment Review indicates assets are rising quicky.

By Abby Schultz
Wed, Jul 21, 2021 10:59amGrey Clock 4 min

Assets in sustainable strategies are rising at a fast clip globally, with US$35.3 trillion invested as of 2020, according to a report out this week from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance or GSIA, an international collaboration of membership-based sustainable investment organisations.

With several changes afoot in regions across the world, these figures are likely to climb further by the time the next report is released in two years. In the U.S.—where 48% of sustainable investing assets resided as of the beginning of 2020, according to the report—potential regulatory and legislative changes are expected to spur further interest in sustainable strategies.

The report, titled the Global Sustainable Investment Review (GSIR), is based on data provided through Dec. 31, 2019, with the exception of Japan, where the data is collected through March 31, 2020.

In part, that’s because these changes will lead to a rise in investments by individual investors in sustainable investing—which include a range of strategies emphasizing environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, matters. Currently about 25% of all investments in sustainable strategies are by “non-institutional” investors, a figure that held steady between the last two reports.

One reason assets haven’t expanded as fast in the retail market is that growth typically comes from retirement funds, where a majority of retail assets are invested, says Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, a membership organization focused on shifting investment practices to sustainability.

And, Woll points out, the U.S.’s largest retirement plan—the US$760 billion Federal Thrift Savings Plan—doesn’t offer any ESG options to its 6.2 million members, Woll says.

Beginning next summer, however, members will be offered the option of investing in ESG mutual funds in response to a May executive order on climate-related financial risk from President Joe Biden.

Among several items, the order asks the secretary of labour to assess “how the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board has taken environmental, social, and governance factors, including climate-related financial risk, into account.”

“We’ve worked on this for a decade, to get them to implement that,” Woll says.

Penta recently spoke with Woll about trends in sustainable investing globally and in the U.S., much of which was detailed in the group’s own report on sustainable and impact investing trends in November.

Shifts in the U.S. Regulatory Landscape

Another drag on asset growth in retirement funds was the “anti-ESG agenda” of former President Donald Trump’s administration, Woll says. “Now, it’s a new era.”

The U.S. Department of Labor in March stated it would not enforce Trump-imposed rules limiting the ability of retirement-plan administrators to consider ESG factors in retirement options, and to engage in proxy voting on ESG-related issues, according to the report.

Also in March, the Securities and Exchange Commission took initial steps that could result in requirements by corporations to disclose climate-related risks to their operations in addition to a “potentially a broader set of ESG issues,” the report said.

More broadly, the Biden administration is addressing several ESG themes in addition to climate. One example is labour rights, the subject of the new White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.

The potential implications for ESG investing from the array of government actions taken so far, and those to be expected, haven’t fully been analysed yet, and could be significant. The climate-change directive, for instance, “affects so many different agencies in different ways,” Woll says.

And, she notes, a more recent executive order on competitiveness includes language about treating employees better, which is a key governance concern for investors.

It’s about “creating better capitalism and better companies,” Woll says. “There are all kinds of interesting focal points, including diversity, equity, and inclusions—big policy priorities for the administration and our members.”

The Rise of ESG Integration

By far the most popular sustainable investing strategy—representing US$25.2 trillion in assets globally—is “ESG integration,” an approach where ESG factors are explicitly included in financial analysis, according to the GSIA.

That’s a major switch from 2018, when negative screening was the most popular global strategy with nearly US$20 trillion in assets compared to US$15 trillion by 2020. Negative or exclusionary screening—which remains highly popular in Europe—removes categories of investments such as companies engaged in making weapons or tobacco, or those involved in human rights abuses, versus seeking out companies engaged in best ESG practices.

One reason for the popularity of this approach is that any investment manager who wants to get business increasingly needs to be a signatory to the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI), a U.N.-sponsored network of investors, Woll says. “ESG integration was very much the preferred strategy taken up by those signatories.”

In the U.S. Woll is concerned, however, that many companies offering ESG integration strategies don’t clearly articulate their criteria, making it difficult for investors to know what kind of impact their investments are having.

“We have to have more transparency around this,” she says.

The Global Picture

While the GSIR report provides a good snapshot of sustainable investment trends in five major markets (the U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand), it also reveals a sector that’s in flux as changing frameworks, regulations, and definitions make it difficult to precisely track global trends.

For instance, in Europe, assets invested in sustainable strategies fell 13% to US$12 trillion from US$14 trillion in 2018. But that decline simply reflects changes in regulatory definitions that no longer include some products or strategies.

In Australia and New Zealand, assets grew to US$906 billion from US$734 billion, but the growth was at a slower pace because of new industry standards for sustainable investment.

Given different strategies and different regulatory environments, the countries from major markets involved in the report are recognizing that field-builder institutions such as US SIF or the European Sustainable Investment Forum need to be resources for best practices, Woll says.

Reprinted by permission of Penta. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: July 20, 2021



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Amid Geopolitical Concerns, Major Philanthropy Continues to Forge Ahead…Creatively
By Geoff Nudelman
Sat, Feb 24, 2024 3 min

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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