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Thematic Strategies Are On the Rise

Advisors expect allocations to thematic strategies in general to increase slightly over the next two years, with allocations to ESG strategies experiencing a larger boost.

The greater interest in thematic investing among the next generation of clients has already caught the notice of many advisors and firms. Three in four advisors invest client assets in thematic funds, primarily on a case-by-case basis—although 12% of advisors use thematic funds across their entire client base.

Advisors generally anticipate an increase in their allocations toward this type of investment strategy. The increase is substantial in relative terms—a 50% increase over the next two years—but not in absolute terms, as advisors are estimating allocations to increase from 10% to 15%. ESG strategies are set to experience a larger increase—from 11% in 2020 to 18% in two years— perhaps because ESG strategies enjoy wider recognition and have a longer track record than other thematic investment strategies.

In general, advisors are most likely to report using thematic funds in the portfolios of their Millennial clients or younger investors, which aligns with the survey’s findings around who wants ESG and diversity and inclusion themes. High net worth clients also use these investment strategies frequently, hinting at the potential benefits they have in terms of generating growth and performance in a portfolio.