THIS IS AN ADVERTISING FEATURE

Find out how the JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust achieves benchmark-beating growth from a sustainable portfolio.

Thriving, and surviving?

In recent years, awareness of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues has gathered momentum, both in the corporate – and wider - world. While escalating climate change concerns drove the environmental part of the equation in the years leading up to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the ‘S’ and ‘G’ of ESG to the fore. Perhaps the ‘S’ has seen the most notable change for good as corporations recognise their responsibilities not only to their customers and employees but to wider society.

As consumers’ attitudes to ESG evolve, so must business models. It is increasingly evident that effective consideration of ESG factors will become an ever-more important differentiator on corporate reputations, outcomes and share prices. JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust lead portfolio manager Austin Forey, who has managed the trust for 27 years, believes that upholding ESG principles will be essential for corporate survival in the future. ‘For the best companies, great opportunities abound; for the worst, irrelevance and extinction lie ahead.’

Sustainable returns

Interest in ESG as an investment philosophy has likewise moved from the periphery of investor consciousness, through adoption by a cohort of climate-conscious Millennials, into the mainstream, as evidenced by the proliferation of ESG-themed funds to meet increased demand. Meanwhile, ESG factors are now increasingly woven into asset management practice. While moral rectitude to some extent drive these changes, it is the recognition that ESG is not an automatic detractor from performance. Indeed, a 2020 study of a sample of sustainable funds showed that the majority had performed better than non-ESG funds over one, three, five and 10 years.[1]

Committed to ESG

Successful long-term investors and asset managers have long understood the value of a sustainable philosophy. JP Morgan’s Emerging Markets Investment Trust has embedded ESG into its approach for three decades. Its fundamental focus on the long-term growth potential of businesses has sustainability at its core.

Several factors have historically made ESG-focused investing in emerging markets challenging, such as less societal pressure on companies to act responsibly and a lack of clear regulation to define and enforce sustainable practices. However, in 2013 the trust implemented a sustainability checklist and has now fully integrated ESG factors into its research process with the development of a “materiality framework”, which identifies the most important ESG factors in over 50 industry categories as chosen by the trust’s research experts.

The trust’s analysts and portfolio managers employ this framework both to assess potential stock picks - scoring companies on relevant sustainability factors - and also to engage, challenge and interrogate portfolio companies on specific issues. Having such a precise set of criteria allows a far sharper focus on how companies are performing in the areas that are most significant for their industry.

Forey explains that, for a beer company, for example: ‘We might consider its water usage, its manufacturing process. We’ll ask: How responsible is their advertising? How recyclable is the packaging?’ The judgement criteria will be totally different for assessing a software company, for which the questions would focus on, for example: cyber security, data protection, and the treatment of the workforce.

Leaving (less of) a footprint

Forey is proud of the fund’s ESG measurable credentials. Its portfolio naturally tilts towards industries with a significantly better-than-average carbon footprint - to use a common environmental yardstick. In fact, the carbon emissions of the trust’s investments amount to a mere one twentieth of that of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. So, for every $1M of investment in the JMG portfolio, 8.2. tonnes of carbon emissions are generated per year. In stark contrast, if you simply bought an ETF passively tracking the EM equity index, the same million dollars invested would produce 225 tonnes – a radical difference.

To some extent, having a comparatively carbon-light emerging markets portfolio is simply down to JMG’s natural investment preferences. The team inherently avoids capital and carbon-intensive industries. However, with increasing regulatory, corporate, and client attention paid to ESG barometers, companies’ carbon emissions - and their ability and willingness to transition to sustainable energy sources – will be a critical gauge factor going forward.

Taking responsibility

Forey firmly believes that the corporate sector should take responsibility for ESG issues not just for carbon emissions but for the necessary economic transition to a sustainable global economy. He remains optimistic both about the contribution that companies can make to this change, and about the investment opportunities this will bring.

Whilst past performance is not a reliable indicator of current or future results, the trust has brought investors emerging markets exposure through a portfolio of innovative, sustainable companies that has outperformed its MSCI benchmark for the last 10 calendar years. Forey is optimistic about the many exciting emerging markets companies with good ESG credentials who offer not only investment opportunities but that will contribute to securing a sustainable future for us all.

Important information

This is a marketing communication and as such the views contained herein do not form part of an offer, nor are they to be taken as advice or a recommendation, to buy or sell any investment or interest thereto. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Any research in this document has been obtained and may have been acted upon by J.P. Morgan Asset Management for its own purpose. The results of such research are being made available as additional information and do not necessarily reflect the views of J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Any forecasts, figures, opinions, statements of financial market trends or investment techniques and strategies expressed are unless otherwise stated, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s own at the date of this document. They are considered to be reliable at the time of writing, may not necessarily be all inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. They may be subject to change without reference or notification to you. It should be noted that the value of investments and the income from them may fluctuate in accordance with market conditions and taxation agreements and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Changes in exchange rates may have an adverse effect on the value, price or income of the products or underlying overseas investments. Past performance and yield are not reliable indicators of current and future results. There is no guarantee that any forecast made will come to pass. Furthermore, whilst it is the intention to achieve the investment objective of the investment products, there can be no assurance that those objectives will be met.

J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the brand name for the asset management business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its affiliates worldwide. To the extent permitted by applicable law, we may record telephone calls and monitor electronic communications to comply with our legal and regulatory obligations and internal policies. Personal data will be collected, stored and processed by J.P. Morgan Asset Management in accordance with our EMEA Privacy Policy www.jpmorgan.com/emea-privacy-policy. Investment is subject to documentation. The Annual Reports and Financial Statements, AIFMD art. 23 Investor Disclosure Document and PRIIPs Key Information Document can be obtained free of charge from JPMorgan Funds Limited or www.jpmam.co.uk/investmenttrust.

This communication is issued by JPMorgan Asset Management (UK) Limited, which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England No: 01161446. Registered address: 25 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London E14 5JP. 0903c02a82b0bab0

 

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 15 Apr 2021