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Monday, April 24, 2017

Commonwealth's Advisors Want ESG

Reported by Katy Golvala

Brian Price says Commonwealth advisors are hot on the ESG trend.

Brian Price
Commonwealth
VP Investment Management and Research
Commonwealth Financial Network, the Waltham, MA-based B-D with an advisor network of 1,710, has offered SRI and ESG models since 2010. But Price, who serves as vice president of investment management and research, has noticed an uptick in advisor interest over the past 12 to 18 months.

And fundsters are noticing it too. The number of SRI and ESG offerings in the industry has grown significantly over the past decade, explains Price.

"We're happy with the proliferation of product in that space. It wasn't as robust ten years ago, and it's increasing dramatically right now," Price tells MFWire.

Price runs a 22-person team responsible for asset allocation and fund selection for Commonwealth's $5.2-billion managed portfolio platform, Preferred Portfolio Services (PPS) Select. He also oversees a portion of the research team responsible for producing Commonwealth's Mutual Fund Recommended List, and says there's a significant amount of collaboration between the two teams.

In addition to looking out for socially responsible offerings, Price is also focused on his team's recently launched core-satellite models. Commonwealth offers around 50 model portfolios, most of which are made up of entirely actively managed funds or entire passively managed funds. The core-satellite models combine both active mutual funds and ETFs in a single model. They're targeted towards advisors who have traditionally heavily favored actively managed mutual fund products, but are now looking to include index funds in their clients' portfolios.

"They didn't want to make a wholesale shift into passive, so the notion of core-satellite makes a ton of sense because they reduce their costs," says Price.

As far as fund rationalization fervor goes, Price says his team isn't taking active steps to shrink the product universe available to Commonwealth advisors. Yet he acknowledges that, as the number of products in the mutual fund space decreases, some of that work will get done for them. 

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