Handful of Asset Managers Effectively Communicate ESG, Despite Exponential Rise in Content – Peregrine’s ESG Report 2021

– Growth in supply and demand for ESG content increased by 149.6% and 141.5% in Tier 1 media over the last 12 months, respectively

– Yet half of the 84 ESG themes assessed are “over-indexed” by the market, with more content provided on these themes than there is organic demand

– European firms dominate Peregrine’s ESG ranking, with only four North American asset managers in the top 25.

– With declining brand awareness in the wider industry, 100% of the top five firms, as ranked by the effectiveness of their communications, grew their contextual ESG brand awareness significantly in 2020 versus only 20% of the bottom five

NEW YORK & LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Despite exponential growth in the supply and demand for ESG content, only a handful of asset managers are successfully communicating their contribution towards sustainability and ESG, according to Peregrine Communications’ second annual ESG report.

The report found that the growth in supply and demand for ESG content increased by 149.6% and 141.5% in Tier 1 media over the last 12 months, respectively. However, it also found that, of the 84 themes assessed, 49% are “over-indexed” by the market, creating a pool of saturated ESG topics and highlighting the disconnect between the content asset managers are supplying and the content their end-audiences are demanding.

As with last year, Peregrine found a number of significant White Space clusters for 2021, which provide opportunities for asset managers – with the matching capabilities – to generate genuine category authority around underserved themes. These include: Towards Tangibility, Environmental Factors and Active Engagement.

Anthony Payne, Chief Executive, Peregrine Communications, commented, “Since our last report we have seen record inflows into ESG products and solutions alongside a record increase in organic real-world interest in responsible investment. However, many of the same challenges remain. Far too little of the ESG-related content created by asset managers adds meaningfully to the conversation and far too often it seems that managers are content to chase a snappy headline rather than affecting real change. With that said, as we outline in the report, we continue to see some very positive signs, not least the dramatic increase in interest from end-audiences and their increasing focus on the authenticity of their investments.”

In the inaugural ESG ranking of the effectiveness of asset managers’ communications, measured by Peregrine’s Message Penetration Analysis (MPA), European firms underlined their dominance. Amundi Asset Management topped this years’ rankings, closely followed by Robeco and DWS Group, with NN Investment Partners and HSBC Global Asset Management making up the rest of the top five. Crucially, despite the wider decline of brand awareness in the industry, all of these firms grew their contextual ESG brand awareness significantly in 2020 versus only 20% of the bottom five.

Overall, the managers that focused the majority of their efforts on no more than five themes scored more highly than those attempting to contribute to all areas of the conversation, and were more likely to secure lasting category authority in the themes they want to be known for.

Max Hilton, Managing Director, Peregrine Communications, commented, “While European dominance is clear cut, this is no doubt a reflection of the varying pace at which ESG has grown in the US. But with rapidly changing attitudes towards ESG investing, provided enough firms take meaningful steps, we could yet see the European monopoly challenged by managers who we have found to demonstrate a superior ability in utilizing the integrated marketing and communications tools at their disposal.”

Charles Donovan, Executive Director, Centre for Climate Finance and Investment, Imperial College Business School, added, “I hope this report will help steer the industry towards topics within the wider ESG conversation that truly matter to the future of the industry. Asset managers have a crucial role in the growing debate about how the financial system can better serve the world we all seek to live in – one that is safe, clean, and prosperous.”

– ENDS –


Peregrine Communications’ ESG report aims to provide a framework by which asset managers can better contribute to the complex ESG conversation in a more meaningful way, a way that better reflects the interest and needs of investors. It also highlights the asset managers that continue to lead in this field through authentic thought leadership and best practice marketing & communication strategies.


Based in London and New York, Peregrine Communications provides strategic communications, marketing, and design solutions to the global financial services industry. Peregrine clients range from start-ups to global investment firms and leading service providers to asset managers.



Thomas Conroy

Peregrine Communications

+1 917 970 8667 / thomas.conroy@peregrinecommunications.com

Louis Hilton

Peregrine Communications

+44 (0) 20 3040 0894/ louis.hilton@peregrinecommunications.com

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