Key Findings Snapshot:
Millennials are more likely to make investment decisions based on
issues that are important to them (64% compared with 54% of Gen Xers
and 42% of boomers)
Nearly half of Gen Xers and baby boomers say they are interested in
having some money in ESG investments, compared with 66% of
When deciding to do business with a company, all generations agree
that social issues such as diversity in the workforce and consumer
protection are most important
Baby boomers are more likely than millennials and Gen Xers to say
that the reason they want to participate in ESG investing is to
encourage companies to be good corporate citizens
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 12, 2019 – While
millennials seem to be the generation most interested in applying their
ideals on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to their
finances, Gen Xers and baby boomers are also expressing growing interest,
according to the ESG Investor Sentiment Study* from Allianz Life
Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®). The study found that although millennials are more likely to make
investment and purchasing decisions based on issues that are important to
them, Gen Xers and boomers are also putting their values into
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of millennials said ESG issues are important in
their investing decisions with Gen Xers not far behind at 54% and boomers
at 42%. In addition, majorities across all generations say ESG is a key
factor in which companies they choose to do business with (77% of
millennials/64% of Gen Xers/61% of boomers).
“Millennials get a lot of attention for driving ESG investing,” said Todd
Hedtke, chief investment officer for Allianz Investment Management LLC.
“But when it comes to investing in and doing business with good corporate
citizens, there is interest across the board and it’s only going to grow.”
Currently only 17% of millennials are participating in ESG investing
(compared with Gen Xers at 7% and boomers at 3%), yet nearly half of Gen
Xers and boomers say they are interested in having some money in ESG
investments at 49% and 47%, respectively.
In fact, baby boomers are more likely than millennials and Gen Xers to
say that the reason they want to participate in ESG investing is to
encourage companies to be good corporate citizens (61% of boomers,
compared with 51% of millennials and 48% of Gen Xers).
Areas of Focus for All Generations
Asked about the single most important issue when it comes to doing
business with a company, all generations agree social issues such as
diversity in the workforce and consumer protection are most important,
followed by corporate governance issues and environmental topics.
When it comes to making investment and business decisions, millennials
are more likely to take action based on issues that are important to them.
But there are a few key issues that make baby boomers more likely than
other generations to take their business elsewhere, including transparency
in business practices and finances, levels of executive compensations, and
charitable contributions made by a company.
The study also found that millennials are more likely to be interested in
learning about various types of ESG information. But all generations are
in agreement that they aren’t sure how to evaluate if the companies
included in an ESG investment care about causes they support (71% of
millennials/64% of Gen Xers/69% of boomers).
“These stats show us that people from all generations are looking to
learn more about ESG and want to put their values into action,” said Kelly
LaVigne, vice president of Consumer Insights, Allianz Life. “But they feel
they need more education and guidance on how to best make ESG investment
Opportunities for Financial Professionals
In addition to the generational differences, the study also found that
most financial professionals have yet to take a proactive approach helping
clients learn about and participate in ESG investing.
Only 30% of Americans working with a financial professional say they have
discussed ESG investing with their advisor, and most of the time it was
the client who initiated the conversation (69%). This, despite the fact
that three-quarters of respondents currently working with a financial
professional said they have positive perceptions of ESG investing, and
over half (51%) of those currently not involved with ESG investing are
interested in it.
“Financial professionals have a huge opportunity in front of them to
proactively discuss ESG investing with clients,” said Hedtke. “It’s
important to work with them to identify what issues are important and help
them build their portfolio in a way that reflects their values.”
New White Paper on Responsible Investing
Allianz Life released a new white paper
outlining the findings of the ESG Investor Sentiment Study. The
Ethics and Investing: How environmental, social, and governance (ESG)
issues impact investor behavior, provides insights into this growing investing trend and how it is
changing the way Americans make investment decisions. Visit
http://www.allianzlife.com/ESG for more information.