The corporate sector’s response to the global health crisis shows a growing recognition of the eﬀect ESG policies can have in driving sustainable growth and shareholder value.
We present a specialist’s perspective on how ESG analysis impacts our investment decisions across real estate, infrastructure, natural resource equities, preferred securities and commodities.
The COVID catalyst
Many companies have expanded their focus to encompass all stakeholders in ways that we believe may have long-term reputational and financial benefits.
Integration and engagement
Our four-step approach accounts for distinct ESG factors relevant to each sector, leveraging our resources and scale to unlock potential value and mitigate risks.
Evaluating managers on ESG
As ESG integration can vary widely among managers, knowing common areas of focus may help investors distinguish diﬀerent techniques and level of focus.
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Data quoted represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results. The information presented does not reﬂect the performance of any fund or other account managed or serviced by Cohen & Steers, and there is no guarantee that investors will experience the type of performance reﬂected above. A specific security mentioned above may or may not be a holding of a portfolio managed by Cohen & Steers as of the date hereof. There is no guarantee that any historical trend illustrated herein will be repeated in the future, and there is no way to predict precisely when such a trend will begin. There is no guarantee that any market forecast made in this document will be realized. The views and opinions in the preceding document are as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. An investor cannot invest directly in an index and index performance does not reﬂect the deduction of any fees, expenses or taxes. Index comparisons have limitations as volatility and other characteristics may differ from a particular investment. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and should not be relied upon as investment advice, does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell a security or other investment and is not intended to predict or depict performance of any investment. This material is not being provided in a fiduciary capacity and is not intended to recommend any investment policy or investment strategy or take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any investor. We consider the information in this material to be accurate, but we do not represent that it is complete or should be relied upon as the sole source of appropriateness for investment. Cohen & Steers does not provide investment, tax or legal advice. Please consult with your investment, tax or legal professional regarding your individual circumstances prior to investing.
Risks of Investing in Real Estate Securities. The risks of investing in real estate securities are similar to those associated with direct investments in real estate, including falling property values due to increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from economic, legal, political or technological developments, lack of liquidity, limited diversification and sensitivity to certain economic factors such as interest rate changes and market recessions.
Risks of Investing in Global Infrastructure Securities. Investments in global infrastructure securities will likely be more susceptible to adverse economic or regulatory occurrences affecting global infrastructure companies than an investment that is not primarily invested in global infrastructure companies. Infrastructure issuers may be subject to regulation by various governmental authorities and may also be affected by governmental regulation of rates charged to customers, operational or other mishaps, tariffs, and changes in tax laws, regulatory policies, and accounting standards.
Risks of Investing in Foreign Securities. Foreign securities involve special risks, including currency ﬂuctuations, lower liquidity, political and economic uncertainties and differences in accounting standards. Some international securities may represent small- and medium-sized companies, which may be more susceptible to price volatility and less liquidity than larger companies.
Risks of Investing in MLP Securities. An investment in MLPs involves risks that differ from a similar investment in equity securities, such as common stock, of a corporation. Holders of equity securities issued by MLPs have the rights typically afforded to limited partners in a limited partnership. As compared to common shareholders of a corporation, holders of such equity securities have more limited control and limited rights to vote on matters affecting the partnership. There are certain tax risks associated with an investment in equity MLP units. Additionally, conﬂicts of interest may exist among common unit holders, subordinated unit holders and the general partner or managing member of an MLP; for example a conﬂict may arise as a result of incentive distribution payments.
Risks of Investing in Commodities. An investment in commodity-linked derivative instruments may be subject to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities, particularly if the instruments involve leverage. The value of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, ﬂoods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments. The use of derivatives presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. Among the risks presented are market risk, credit risk, counterparty risk, leverage risk and liquidity risk. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying asset, index or rate, which may be magnified by certain features of the derivatives.
Futures Trading Is Volatile, Highly Leveraged and May Be Illiquid. Investments in commodity futures contracts and options on commodity futures contracts have a high degree of price variability and are subject to rapid and substantial price changes. Such investments could incur significant losses. There can be no assurance that the options strategy will be successful. The use of options on commodity futures contracts is to enhance risk-adjusted total returns. The use of options, however, may not provide any, or may provide only partial, protection for market declines. The return performance of the commodity futures contracts may not parallel the performance of the commodities or indexes that serve as the basis for the options they buy or sell; this basis risk may reduce overall returns.
Risks of Investing in Natural Resource Equities. The market value of securities of natural resource companies may be affected by numerous factors, including events occurring in nature, inﬂationary pressures and international politics.
Risks of Investing in Preferred Securities. Investing in any market exposes investors to risks. In general, the risks of investing in preferred securities are similar to those of investing in bonds, including credit risk and interest-rate risk. As nearly all preferred securities have issuer call options, call risk and reinvestment risk are also important considerations. In addition, investors face equity-like risks, such as deferral or omission of distributions, subordination to bonds and other more senior debt, and higher corporate governance risks with limited voting rights. Below investment-grade securities or equivalent unrated securities generally involve greater volatility of price and risk of loss of income and principal, and may be more susceptible to real or perceived adverse economic and competitive industry conditions than higher grade securities. Benchmarks may not contain below-investment-grade securities.
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