Broker Survey: Half of U.S. Professionals Have Offered SRI to Clients, But Major Gender Gap See in Financial Advice

Published on October 23, 2014 12:21 PM

(SI Newswire) COLORADO SPRINGS (October 23, 2014) – When it comes to perceptions among financial professionals about sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, according to the findings of the first annual “First Affirmative Survey on the Views of Financial Professionals About SRI” released today by First Affirmative Financial Network. The major new survey also finds stronger-than-expected acceptance by financial professionals of offering SRI options to investors and a widespread view that the financial industry will need to change to accommodate the needs of “Millennial Investors.”

Available online at and based on 1,913 responses to an online survey of financial professionals not normally identified as SRI practitioners, the survey is being released less than a month before The SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing takes place November 9-11, 2014 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado (, produced by First Affirmative Financial Network.

Key survey findings include the following:

* Half (49 percent) of the responding financial professionals said they have offered an SRI option now or in the past to their clients. Of those who have done so, the #1 cited reason was requests from clients.

* By a margin of more than two to one, survey respondents believe the financial services industry will need to change its ways to meet the needs of younger (Millennial / Gen Y) investors. Half of the survey respondents (49 percent) agreed that “the needs and interests of younger investors will have to be catered to if the industry is to thrive.” Only about one in five (21 percent) believe that “(t)oday’s younger investors are no different than aging Baby Boomers and older investors.”

* Female financial professionals who were surveyed are much more likely than men to focus on SRI. Three out of five (61 percent) financial professionals who are women say they are now or have in the past offered SRI options to clients, compared to less than half of men (47 percent).

* Female advisors are roughly twice as likely as men to say that SRI will become a bigger aspect of the industry in the next five years: 29 percent versus 15 percent, respectively. Women also are more likely than men to say that the financial services industry will need to change to meet the need of Millennial / Gen Y investors: 62 percent versus 46 percent, respectively.

First Affirmative Senior Vice President, Betsy Moszeter, said: “The survey results show that SRI investing has become entrenched in mainstream finance. Having reached the point where one out of two financial professionals have offered SRI options to their clients, it is clear that responsible investment strategies are now a client expectation that advisors need to be equipped to provide. We are encouraged to see that industry professionals are looking ahead and understand that the views and concerns of millennial investors will need to be addressed in coming years, and that business as usual will not be sufficient. That means the sustainable, responsible, impact investing strategies are almost certain to become even more centrally established as a go-to investment choice for millions more Americans in the years to come.”

“The survey’s findings that women in the financial world are more inclined than their male counterparts to embrace SRI is an important one and it points to where the industry will end up on this question in the long run,” said Christy Aleckson, investment representative of Single Point Financial Advisors in Portland, Oregon. “As more and more women join the ranks of financial professionals over time, the availability of SRI investment strategies for any investor will improve, and the notion of investing for positive impact will become a common practice. It is literally another instance of where women will lead the way and I’m proud to be among the pack,” she said.

Other key findings from the First Affirmative survey include the following:

* Women who are financial professionals are more likely than their male counterparts to say that they are “very aware” of SRI: 43 percent versus 33 percent, respectively.

* Women are more likely than men to say that they are more open to offering SRI options in the next five years: 39 percent versus 30 percent, respectively.

* Almost a third (31 percent) of survey respondents who have offered SRI options to clients in the past believe that SRI will grow in the next five years. Under half (45 percent) think the extent of SRI investing will stay about the same. The numbers are different—17 percent and 55 percent, respectively—among all financial professionals, including those who have never offered a SRI option to clients. Fewer than 1 in 20 financial professionals (4.4 percent) expect SRI to decline in the next five years.

* Almost three out of five (58 percent) of surveyed financial professionals not offering SRI options to clients say they have never considered doing so. The #1 reason cited by responding financial professionals who have not offered SRI options to their clients: Lack of information about / familiarity with SRI (71 percent).

First Affirmative will welcome about 550 investors and investment professionals who invest for positive impact to the 25th annual SRI Conference on November 9, 2014. The full conference agenda is available online at: Conference participation is open to all SRI industry practitioners, investment professionals, institutional investors, and related organizations and individuals. The conference experience features an outstanding series of educational sessions and a focused opportunity to network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, organizations, and industry leaders.

ABOUT FIRST AFFIRMATIVE FINANCIAL NETWORK First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC ( is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offering investment consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious investors. First Affirmative produces The SRI Conference (


The 25th annual SRI Conference (, the leading North American forum for investors and investment professionals involved in SRI investing. For more information about the conference or about supporting the conference as a sponsor, please contact Krystala Kalil, at 888-774-2663 or


Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or