• Signatory type: Investment manager
  • HQ Country: United Kingdom

In autumn 2020, BMO launched MyESG, an interactive online tool created to educate the market and further integrate ESG into conversations between Canadian investors and their advisors. It aimed to understand the mindsets of individual investors around ESG investing, based on an intuitive, online ‘MyESG quiz’, taken by some 2,000 high-net-worth investors across Canada and the U.S. This identified four distinct ESG personality types, showing that ESG investing incorporates a wide spectrum of preferences and beliefs, with the key conclusion being that there is no “one-size-fits-all” conversation.

This simple yet effective educational tool helped bring research to life, enabling advisors to have more meaningful ESG conversations with clients. MyESG supports quality conversations by addressing the most important issues to the client with additional value-add resources including an ESG Advisor Toolkit, an ESG Discussion Guide, FAQs, podcasts, and a ‘look book’ of research results.

For more information, see DCIIA RRC Webinar: ESG Investor Personalities and Introduction to BMO’s MyESG interactive tool

Why did you decide to undertake this approach?

The ESG investment conversation is nuanced, with investors falling along a continuum from high to low conviction. They view beliefs, decision-making and impact from different perspectives. Whether driven by performance or purpose, ESG allows investors to connect with their goals in a way that matters most for them.

For advisors, a better understanding of where each individual falls on the ESG spectrum can lead to more meaningful conversations. Categorising clients in segments such as ‘ESG Ready’ and ‘ESG Motivated’ presents opportunities for advisors to deepen relationships and grow their practice. For employers, it’s important to know that employees want their investments to have a positive impact on the world. They see shareholder engagement and proxy voting as tools to enable change for the broader good. And that can be a powerful way to encourage employees toward better saving and investing for retirement.

The BMO MyESG interactive quiz helps advisors segment clients and prospects for more fruitful conversations. It has a twofold objective: to help individual investors learn more about their ESG preferences and make informed decisions; and to create easy-to-navigate, educational resources and a tool to be leveraged by 1,000 BMO Financial Group advisors initially, followed by around 30,000 external advisors.

The quick and interactive online tool, developed using an algorithm based on complex survey results, makes it easy for clients and advisors to better understand their ESG beliefs and to have more meaningful advisor/client conversations.

With six questions to answer, taking around two minutes to complete, the tool:

  • Produces an ESG personality type: ‘Motivated’, ‘Ready’, ‘Pragmatic’ or ‘Sceptical’, and provides links to allow the client to share the results with their advisor;
  • Helps investors better understand their own priorities and preferences;
  • Allows the advisor to customise the conversation based on a client’s ESG investor personality; and
  • Enables advisors to meet clients where they are in terms of their ESG needs and perceptions, for more effective and client-centric conversations.

BMO supplemented the interactive quiz with an ‘ESG Advisor Toolkit’, which includes step-by-step instructions to make it easy to enlighten clients with “Power Tips” and FAQ answers, and produced podcasts, with experienced podcast speakers communicating in simple terms, debunking myths and offering practical ways to leverage the MyESG quiz.

All educational resources to complement MyESG tool were written in a conversational, accessible tone to engage a non-specialist advisor audience, with talking points and cues for every ESG profile explained in plain language.

BMO has have learned that, when it comes to ESG investing, there is not a one-size- fits-all conversation for advisors and investors. By using the personas identified by MyESG, or similar, advisors can have deeper conversations and close the gap between ESG beliefs and investing habits.