Northern Trust Accounts for ESG Factors Now in the Spotlight

Feb 24, 2021 8:15 AM ET

Mike Hunstad, head of quantitative strategies for Northern Trust Asset Management, has watched socially responsible investing move way beyond negative screens that defined the space 30 years ago and he contends that investors “can have their cake and eat it too.” 

In setting the strategy for one of the asset manager’s largest ESG funds, introduced three years ago, Hunstad put to work the fundamentals of a Northern Trust separately managed account that dates back to 2015. It made quality of a company’s balance sheet as important as its committments to ESG criteria. Together these priorities create a forward-looking ESG investment, he said. 

Below he describes the investment picking priorities that make Northern US Quality ESG fund (NUESX), which has about $280 million in assets, different from its competitors, namely risk control, which is something he said other ESG-focused managers tend to overlook.

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