Purpose The authors compare two market collapse incidents, focusing on their role as turning points for ESG considerations among investors that do not fall under the SRI class. The authors draw from the signaling theory to posit that ESG performance acts as a buffer to retain institutional shareholders under stress conditions. Design/methodology/approach The authors collect extensive data on institutional shareholdings and corporate performance during the pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis to examine the potential of ESG to act as a downward risk hedging mechanism. The authors test whether superior ESG scores function as insurance and resilience signals that lock investors in through times of high probability of divestments. Findings Findings indicate that ESG weighs in investment decisions during economic downturn and poor returns. The nature of this positive relationship is not static but dynamic contingent on overall risk materiality considerations. Research limitations/implications The authors update regulators, firms, investors and academics on ESG, risk and crisis management. The shifting materiality and the altering impact of ESG practices is our core implication, as well as limitation, in terms of metrics, temporal evolution and interaction with institutional factors, along with portfolio alpha and safe haven potential in ESG asset classes. Originality/value The authors extend current literature focusing on portfolio returns and firm valuations to highlight the role of ESG in shareholder retention during poor return periods. The authors further add to existing studies by examining the shifting materiality of ESG pillars during different crisis settings.

2008’s mistrust vs 2020’s panic: can ESG hold your institutional investors?

Anastasia Giakoumelou
;
Antonio Salvi;Giorgio Stefano Bertinetti;
2022

Abstract

Purpose The authors compare two market collapse incidents, focusing on their role as turning points for ESG considerations among investors that do not fall under the SRI class. The authors draw from the signaling theory to posit that ESG performance acts as a buffer to retain institutional shareholders under stress conditions. Design/methodology/approach The authors collect extensive data on institutional shareholdings and corporate performance during the pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis to examine the potential of ESG to act as a downward risk hedging mechanism. The authors test whether superior ESG scores function as insurance and resilience signals that lock investors in through times of high probability of divestments. Findings Findings indicate that ESG weighs in investment decisions during economic downturn and poor returns. The nature of this positive relationship is not static but dynamic contingent on overall risk materiality considerations. Research limitations/implications The authors update regulators, firms, investors and academics on ESG, risk and crisis management. The shifting materiality and the altering impact of ESG practices is our core implication, as well as limitation, in terms of metrics, temporal evolution and interaction with institutional factors, along with portfolio alpha and safe haven potential in ESG asset classes. Originality/value The authors extend current literature focusing on portfolio returns and firm valuations to highlight the role of ESG in shareholder retention during poor return periods. The authors further add to existing studies by examining the shifting materiality of ESG pillars during different crisis settings.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/5002972
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