Goldman Sachs puts premium on sustainable investing with new global markets council

FILE PHOTO: A Goldman Sachs sign is displayed inside the company's post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N on Wednesday said it had created a council of traders, sales staff and others to share expertise on sustainable finance and investing, as clients search for ways to achieve climate-change investment commitments despite the twin shocks of the coronavirus and the sliding price of oil.

The Global Markets Division Sustainable Solutions Council’s roughly 20 members will meet every few weeks to share strategies and build data sets and analytics tools, said Stacy Selig, co-head of Goldman’s global markets structuring and solutions business.

“The council pulls together a collection of people who have the perfect expertise to share information more widely across the division and firm,” Selig said in an interview with Reuters. The group is also tasked with “building new products and solutions for clients.”

Sustainable investing skeptics have questioned for sometime how well portfolios focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues would perform in a down market.

Investing research firm Morningstar Inc said in early April that sustainable equity funds and ESG-tilted index funds did suffer large losses during the first quarter because of the coronavirus outbreak, but that returns at most of these funds held up better than returns from conventional funds.

Selig said the bank’s institutional investors have put more money into sustainable portfolios since ESG funds showed resilience during the recent market turmoil.

Working with Goldman’s firmwide sustainable finance group and smaller councils within the bank, the council will be tasked with communicating across asset classes and products, Selig said.

Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler