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11 Nov 2019

Why millennial money will drive change around the world

Millennial money matters. Half the world’s population is now under 301, and this huge cohort is predicted to become increasingly wealthy, growing in purchasing power from workplace earnings and inheritances from baby-boomer parents. They stand to inherit as much as USD 30 trillion by 2050 in North America alone, benefiting from a huge intergenerational transfer of wealth2.

Yet, millennials - and the younger Gen Z generation - have notably different spending habits and priorities than their parents. For one, they are more worried about deteriorating environmental conditions, and eager to make a positive impact, even at a cost to their own comfort. A survey by the World Economic Forum revealed that 78% of people aged 18-30 would be prepared to “change their lifestyle to protect nature and the environment”,1 echoing a recent US survey which showed that about 55% of millennials working with a financial adviser had discussed environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, compared to just 25% of Gen Xers, and 11% of baby boomers.3

Breaking down investment barriers

However, for millennials (or any other generation) wanting to make a direct impact with their money, impact investing has historically been a difficult proposition. Until recently, it involved financing unlisted companies or funding projects through loans. Such large and illiquid investments are difficult for individual investors to access. And good intentions can only go so far – if someone lacks the necessary knowledge, it will be a challenge to evaluate whether a certain project or company is likely to be financially successful and effective at making a difference.

But times are changing – fast. More and more people are putting their money to work sustainably through much simpler means: exchange-traded funds (ETFs). So far this year, sustainable ETFs in Europe have seen €11.5bn of inflows – almost three times as much as the €4bn recorded for all of 2018.4 Millennials are early adopters of ETFs and twice as likely to invest in ETFs than baby boomers, according to Accenture.5

Millennials and sustainable ETFs – a match made in heaven?

ETFs are the posterchild for simple and democratised investing, giving investors of all sizes access to a wide range of markets, asset classes and strategies. ESG and sustainable investing is no exception. The initial investment needed is much lower than what’s usually required to directly fund environmental or social projects, or to invest in unlisted firms. By investing in ETFs to support gender equality or climate-friendly projects, millennials can start using their spare change to build sustainable portfolios with confidence and ease.

ETFs are also scalable. They’re well-suited to technology-based forms of distribution and execution – yet another reason for their proven popularity with tech-savvy millennials. According to Accenture’s findings, two-thirds of millennials want some form of self-directed investment portal, while only 30% of Generation-X and baby-boomers do.5 ETFs are particularly suitable for robo-advisory services, the construction of digital portfolios and digital order routing.

In short, doing well by doing good becomes more than a pretty slogan with ethical ETFs. Beyond their potential for performance, ETFs also serve to democratise access to impact investments and are well-suited for technology-based solutions. For the millennial generation, that’s a match made in heaven. 

Impact funds built around the UN’s key sustainability goals   

Lyxor offers ETFs that both create value for investors and mobilise capital towards companies involved in solving societal and environmental problems. Of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we offer solutions that tackle four.

1.Climate Action

In 2017, we were the first asset manager to pioneer a green bond ETF. As its name suggests, the fund invests in bonds whose proceeds are earmarked for pro-climate projects. In addition to investing in investment-grade bonds rigorously assessed and approved by the Climate Bonds Initiative, it offers investors a low-cost and transparent way to ease the transition to a low-carbon economy. Clients have responded well to our unique vehicle, which so far has accumulated over $160m in assets.4

Why are investors so excited about green bonds?

2.Gender Equality

Our gender equality ETF – the first of its kind in Europe – offers investors the chance to direct capital towards companies leading the charge to a more equitable world for women in the workforce. Why should companies care about fair representation? The business impact is beneficial, whether through talent acquisition and retention, customer insight, and better governance, to name a few. And investors will be happy to know that you can still do well by doing good. One study by McKinsey showed that gender-diverse companies were 21% more likely to outperform their peers on EBIT margin, a measure of profitability.6

Take a stand for women in the workforce

3.Clean Water and Sanitation

Lyxor’s first sustainable ETF – the Lyxor World Water UCITS ETF, launched back in 2007 – helps investors tackle water scarcity, as water consumption continues to outpace population growth. The fund invests in global companies which derive at least 40% of their revenue from water infrastructure, utilities or treatment activities. We believe the water scarcity challenge can be alleviated by directing capital towards these sectors, thereby facilitating capex through reduced cost of capital.

Turn the tide on water scarcity

4.Affordable and Clean Energy

Also launched in 2007, the Lyxor New Energy UCITS ETF invests in companies from around the world involved in activities such as renewable energy, distributed energy or energy efficiency. According to the UN, energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.7 The opportunity for investors is hard to ignore – the share of renewable energy in the global energy generation market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5% between 2019-2027.8

Make a difference today with our far-reaching ESG range

1World Economic Forum, Global Shapers Survey, http://www.shaperssurvey2017.org/static/data/WEF_GSC_Annual_Survey_2017.pdf
2Accenture, 2012, The “Greater” Wealth Transfer: Capitalizing on the Intergenerational Shift in Wealth
3Allianz Life, ESG Investor Sentiment Survey, May 2019, https://www.allianzlife.com/-/media/files/allianz/pdfs/esg-white-paper.pdf
4Source: Lyxor International Asset Management. Data as at 31/10/2019.
5Accenture, Millennials & Money, https://www.accenture.com/t20171219T131118Z__w__/us-en/_acnmedia/PDF-68/Accenture-Millennials-and-Money-Millennial-Next-Era-Wealth-Management.pdf
6McKinsey, Delivering through Diversity, Jan 2018. Financial performance analysis showed that top-quartile companies were 21% more likely than fourth quartile companies to outperform national industry peers on EBIT margin, but also were 27% more likely than fourth quartile companies to have industry-leading performance on longer-term value creation, as measured using economic profit margin (Net Operating Profit Less Adjusted Taxes – [Invested Capital x Weighted Average Cost of Capital]). Analysis performed on over 1,000 companies in 12 countries. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
7UN SDG website, as at October 2019.
8Source: RobecoSAM, Alternative Energy RobecoSAM Quarterly Update Q1 2019.

Risk Warning​

FOR QUALIFIED INVESTORS ONLY– This document is reserved and must be given in Switzerland exclusively to Qualified Investors as defined by the Swiss Collective Investment Scheme Act of 23 June 2006 (as amended from time to time, CISA).

This document has been provided by Lyxor International Asset Management that is solely responsible for its content.

This document is not to be deemed distribution of funds in Switzerland according to the Swiss collective investment schemes act of 23 June 2006 (as amended from time to time, CISA) or any other applicable Swiss laws or regulations.

This document is reserved and must be given in Switzerland exclusively to Qualified Investors as defined by the Swiss Collective Investment Scheme Act of 23 June 2006 (as amended from time to time, CISA).

Financial intermediaries (including particularly, representatives of private banks or independent asset managers, Intermediaries) are hereby reminded on the strict regulatory requirements applicable under the CISA to any distribution of foreign collective investment schemes in Switzerland. It is each Intermediary’s sole responsibility to ensure that (i) all these requirements are put in place prior to any Intermediary distributing any of the Funds presented in this document and (ii) that otherwise, it does not take any action that could constitute distribution of collective investment schemes in Switzerland as defined in article 3 CISA and related regulation.

Any information in this document is given only as of the date of this document and is not updated as of any date thereafter.

This document is for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer, an invitation to make an offer, a solicitation or recommendation to invest in collective investment schemes.  This document is not a prospectus as per article 652a or 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations, a listing prospectus according to the listing rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange or any other trading venue as defined by the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act of 19 June 2015 (as amended from time to time, FMIA), a simplified prospectus, a key investor information document or a prospectus as defined in the CISA.

An investment in collective investment schemes involves significant risks that are described in each prospectus or offering memorandum. Each potential investor should read the entire prospectus or offering memorandum and should carefully consider the risk warnings and disclosures before making an investment decision.

Any benchmarks/indices cited in this document are provided for information purposes only.

This document is not the result of a financial analysis and therefore is not subject to the “Directive on the Independence of Financial Research” of the Swiss Bankers Association.

This document does not contain personalized recommendations or advice and is not intended to substitute any professional advice on investments in financial products. 

Research disclaimer

Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) or its employees may have or maintain business relationships with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that LIAM and its employees may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. Please see appendix at the end of this report for the analyst(s) certification(s), important disclosures and disclaimers. Alternatively, visit our global research disclosure website www.lyxoretf.com/compliance.

Conflicts of interest 

This research contains the views, opinions and recommendations of Lyxor International Asset Management (“LIAM”) Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists. To the extent that this research contains trade ideas based on macro views of economic market conditions or relative value, it may differ from the fundamental Cross Asset and ETF Research opinions and recommendations contained in Cross Asset and ETF Research sector or company research reports and from the views and opinions of other departments of LIAM and its affiliates. Lyxor Cross Asset and ETF research analysts and/or strategists routinely consult with LIAM sales and portfolio management personnel regarding market information including, but not limited to, pricing, spread levels and trading activity of ETFs tracking equity, fixed income and commodity indices. Trading desks may trade, or have traded, as principal on the basis of the research analyst(s) views and reports. Lyxor has mandatory research policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to (i) ensure that purported facts in research reports are based on reliable information and (ii) to prevent improper selective or tiered dissemination of research reports. In addition, research analysts receive compensation based, in part, on the quality and accuracy of their analysis, client feedback, competitive factors and LIAM’s total revenues including revenues from management fees and investment advisory fees and distribution fees.

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