Edris Boey believes that the key to the success of any business today lies in its ESG (environment, social and governance) principles. And the data increasingly supports it.
Companies that apply an ESG screen to investments have proven to be more resilient during periods of economic stress, as evidenced by S&P's global market intelligence report that more than half of ESG-linked funds outperformed the S&P 500 in the first several months of 2021.
They’re also popular with investors, as global sustainable investment—an approach that considers ESG factors in their portfolio selection—has increased by 55 per cent since 2016, hitting US$35.3 trillion in five major markets (Europe, the United States, Canada, Australasia and Japan), according to a 2021 GSIA report.
Among family offices, Maitri Asset Management has emerged as a leader in this approach with Boey at the helm of ESG research. Started by the Singapore-based Tolaram Group in 2015, Maitri expanded in 2019 to work with multiple families and embrace ESG principles.
“I oversee Maitri’s overall ESG policy direction and lead our in-house ESG Team,” she explains. “I developed and am responsible for executing and maintaining Maitri’s Responsible Investment (RI) approach. I also work closely with the portfolio managers to analyse investments more holistically.”
Boey and her team’s efforts saw Maitri becoming the first multifamily office in the Asia Pacific to earn the B Corporation (B Corp) certification, an accreditation that can only be achieved by companies that have undergone a rigorous assessment process to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
“For us, it is paramount that everyone in the organisation walks the talk,” the passionate leader enthuses. “I am very proud of our collective efforts.”
The family office recently announced its commitment to net-zero targets, which includes having 50 per cent of its assets under management (AUM) in line with net-zero by 2030; they are also active in various sustainability initiatives. Twenty-five per cent of Maitri’s earnings goes to the Ishk Tolaram Foundation, which provides access to quality education, healthcare and skills training to underserved individuals in Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore and Estonia.
Here, Boey shares more insights on the importance and challenges of ESG investments, while underscoring the growing green bonds market and how ESG policies may look like in the future.
I would expect climate change to feature prominently in any ESG investment strategy over the next few years.— Edris Boey, head of ESG Research at Maitri Asset Management