top of page
Downtown Grand Rapids Aerial View

ESG Investment Services 

What is ESG Investing?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance.

ESG investors examine criteria within these categories and focus on companies who are superior to their competitors from an ethical, sustainable, and corporate governance standpoint.

Why consider an ESG-focused investing approach?

  1. You can see your values reflected in your investments

    • ​Whether you are focused on green energy, female board representation, equality of compensation, or any other ESG factor, we can tailor your portfolio so that your values are reflected in the companies you invest in. If you don’t have a specific value you want represented but still want to have a socially responsible investment portfolio, we can use our ESG core equity portfolio to meet those goals.

  2. ESG evaluates risks and opportunities beyond the scope of traditional financial analysis

    • ​While traditional investing tends to focus on the financial well-being of a company, ESG investing goes beyond that and looks at potential ESG risks and opportunities that can be material to a company’s overall health. With our ESG core equity portfolio, we select companies with solid balance sheets, strong growth prospects, reasonable valuations, and high ESG standards.

Aspen’s ESG approach

We use MSCI corporate ESG ratings (ESG Ratings & Climate Search Tool - MSCI) as criteria for portfolio inclusion.

MSCI has been rating companies based on industry material ESG risk since 1999 and is widely known as one of the industry leaders in ESG analysis.

MSCI’s ESG ratings model identifies the ESG risks that are most material to a given GICs sub-industry or sector. They investigate thousands of data points across key issues that focus on the intersection between a company’s core business and the industry-specific issues that may create significant risks and opportunities for the company. The key issues are then weighted according to impact and time horizon of the risk opportunity.

MSCI rates companies similarly to how S&P rates bonds---from AAA to CCC. Our ESG portfolio aims to mirror our “Large Cap Core Equity” portfolio, while eliminating companies that are below their industry’s standards from an ESG perspective. A company must be rated “BBB” or above by MSCI to be included in our ESG portfolio.

MSCI Ratings Chart

Because of the rapid growth in ESG popularity, many investment companies are offering ESG investment services, but they don’t all have strict guidelines to what is included in the portfolio. Many firms just use ETFs and Mutual Funds who claim to be “ESG aware”.

We believe you deserve full transparency.

That is why we hand-select companies that have strong growth prospects and above-average ESG scores relative to their peers.

While ~20% of the S&P 500 constituents fall below their industry average ESG standards, our portfolio contains 0% below average companies.

ESG Investment Strategy

  • Our investment objective approach seeks to outperform the S&P 500 Index on a relative basis, while emphasizing Environmental, Social, and Governance impacts.

  • Our investment management process is “hands on” and management intensive. We emphasize bottom up stock selection and continually review valuation targets.

  • Our returns are principally determined by dividend income, stock selection, industry weighting and sector allocation

Investment Objective

  • Long Term Growth of Capital

  • Turnover range 10-20% annually over a market cycle

  • No more than 10% in any one issue.

  • Overall dividend yield higher than S&P 500 Index.

  • Minimize capital gains, however, this is secondary to overall return objectives.

bottom of page