When Investors Call for Climate Responsibility, How Do Mutual Funds Respond?

55 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2019

See all articles by Marco Ceccarelli

Marco Ceccarelli

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Swiss Finance Institute

Stefano Ramelli

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance

Alexander F. Wagner

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swiss Finance Institute

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

In April 2018, the investment platform and financial advisor Morningstar introduced a new eco-label for mutual funds, the Low Carbon Designation (LCD). The unexpected release of this label induced responses by (1) investors and (2) mutual funds. First, investors flocked to funds labeled as Low Carbon. Through the end of 2018, such funds enjoyed a 3.1% increase in assets compared to otherwise similar funds. This effect was distinct from that of more generic sustainability ratings ("Globes"), and it reversed for funds that lost the label in August or November 2018. Second, managers of just-missing funds adjusted their holdings towards lower carbon risk and lower fossil fuel involvement, the two criteria used to assign the LCD. Both the rewards-for-LCD and the moving-towards-LCD effects are stronger for European funds, retail funds, funds with weak financial performance, and low-sustainability funds. Overall, the findings suggest that as investors become more sensitive to the topic of climate change, financial intermediaries also use existing investment vehicles to respond to the increasing demand for climate-conscious investment products.

Keywords: behavioral finance, climate change, eco-labels, investor preferences, Mutual funds, Sustainable Finance

JEL Classification: D03, G02, G12, G23

Suggested Citation

Ceccarelli, Marco and Ramelli, Stefano and Wagner, Alexander F., When Investors Call for Climate Responsibility, How Do Mutual Funds Respond? (March 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13599. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3360066

Marco Ceccarelli (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Schönberggasse 1
Zürich, 8001
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/marcoceccarelli

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Switzerland

Stefano Ramelli

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, 8032
Switzerland
+41446342953 (Phone)

Alexander F. Wagner

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, 8032
Switzerland
+41 44 634 3963 (Phone)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.alex-wagner.com

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