HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

Has the Covid-19 crisis changed the way investors look at ESG criteria in their investment strategy?

Hardy, Céleste ULiège
Promotor(s) : Lambert, Marie ULiège
Date of defense : 31-Aug-2021/6-Sep-2021 • Permalink :
Title : Has the Covid-19 crisis changed the way investors look at ESG criteria in their investment strategy?
Translated title : [fr] La crise de Covid-19 a-t-elle changé la façon dont les investisseurs considèrent les critères ESG dans leur stratégie d'investissement ?
Author : Hardy, Céleste ULiège
Date of defense  : 31-Aug-2021/6-Sep-2021
Advisor(s) : Lambert, Marie ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Gillain, Cédric ULiège
Ruth, Jérôme ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 77
Keywords : [en] ESG
[en] Investor Behaviour
[en] Flows Analysis
[en] COVID-19
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Finance
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion, à finalité spécialisée en Banking and Asset Management
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] In the face of 21st century challenges, sustainable finance has a key role to play. The trend is already well underway as more and more investors are revealing their appetite for this investment philosophy as evidenced by the exponential growth in the total amounts under management.
This thesis aims at testing whether the shock triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way investors integrate ESG criteria when investing. The first part of this thesis shows that, regardless of its sustainability category, the drop in flows experienced by equity mutual funds was brutal, but the recovery was similarly rapid. The second examination looks at the movement of flows according to the fund’ sustainability category and finds evidence that the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the value that investors place on sustainable investing. When analysing the impact of the Morningstar rating on flows, funds that have been awarded a high score (5 globes) receive significantly more flows than other funds as a result of the crisis. In addition to the increased interest in ESG ratings, an analysis of the influence of fund names on capital allocation shows that funds whose names refer to sustainability or ESG investment received more flows than others and that this difference widened in the aftermath of the pandemic. Finally, it is shown that these conclusions must be interpreted with caution as they cannot be confirmed when the analysis is repeated using other ESG score providers. These results therefore suggest that interest in sustainable finance was present before the crisis and remains present in the aftermath of the crisis. The findings also highlight the critical role of the coming regulation for companies, sustainable rating providers and asset managers in the further development of sustainable finance.



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  • Hardy, Céleste ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. gest., à fin.


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