“A further factor that contributes to the wide acceptance of carbon intensity and greenhouse gas emissions,” it added, “is that they are quantifiable and clearly defined, making tracking and implementing policies easier than for other ESG criteria.”Private equity investors appeared most convinced of the importance of ESG, as only 12% of respondents said the matter was not considered when appointing a manager within the asset class.The approach to ESG by infrastructure and real estate managers was also important to investors, with 22% and 27% saying it was a significant factor when appointing managers – in stark contrast to the view of those appointing hedge funds, where only 7% said it was a matter of significant concern.Among hedge fund investors, more than one-third said they did not consider ESG at all, twice the number that said it was immaterial when investing in property.The survey is the second in a number of months to show the private equity market increasingly viewing ESG as a core concern.Tycho Sneyers, chairman of the ESG committee at LGT Capital Partners, argued that the survey results showed how ESG had moved “beyond ethical concerns” and found its place as a risk and investment-management topic. The overwhelming majority of asset owners consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns important when selecting private equity, property or infrastructure managers – with such concerns the least important within the hedge fund sector, according to a new survey.The global survey, covering nearly 100 respondents including pension schemes and sovereign wealth funds, found that three-quarters considered ESG when making investment decisions, and that 57% perceived ESG factors as improving risk-adjusted returns.Conducted by Mercer and LGT Capital Partners, the survey also found that greenhouse gas emissions were viewed as the most important environmental issue, closely followed by water scarcity.The survey noted that initiatives, such as the Montreal Carbon Pledge, were seeing institutions demonstrate a greater interest in managing climate-related risks.
Philip Lowe, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/Economic Society of Australia.“Housing credit growth has declined to an annual rate of five-and-a-half per cent,” the statement said.“This is largely due to reduced demand by investors as the dynamics of the housing market have changed. “Lending standards are also tighter than they were a few years ago, partly reflecting APRA’s earlier supervisory measures to help contain the build-up of risk in household balance sheets. There is competition for borrowers of high credit quality.”Mr Lowe noted some lenders had increased mortgage rates by “small amounts”, but “the average mortgage rate paid is lower than a year ago”. HISTORIC CBD PENTHOUSE FOR SALE New homes under construction in Mango Hill, north of Brisbane. Image: AAP/Dan Peled.He said the low level of interest rates was continuing to support the Australian economy.Two of the Big Four banks, Commonwealth Bank and ANZ, along with 19 other lenders, have slashed interest rates on fixed home loans independent of the RBA, as competition among lenders heats up.RateCity.com.au shows lenders have dropped fixed interest rates by up to 72 basis points on more than 120 products. Commonwealth Bank cut its fixed rates by 10 basis points, while ANZ cut some of its fixed rates up to 24 basis points.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours ago BUILDING A HOME ON A BUDGET The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has cut its fixed home loan rate by 10 basis points. Image: AAP/Joel Carrett.RateCity research director Sally Tindall said banks were slashing fixed rates in a bid to win market share. “Growth in home lending has started to hit the brakes, while non-bank lenders are gaining traction. As a result, banks are throwing everything at fixed rates to keep new customers coming through the door,” she said. BUYERS CLAMOUR OVER RENOVATED ‘UGLY DUCKLING’ “This makes it the perfect environment for refinancers, particularly if you have a bit of equity up your sleeve, but only if you’re willing to fix.“While the cash rate is unlikely to increase before 2020, more than half a million variable rate customers have already been hit with higher rates due to cost of funding pressures, with more hikes expected to follow.” The Reserve Bank has left the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 per cent in August. Image: AAP/Brendan Esposito.THE official cash rate remains on hold for another month, but experts warn more out-of-cycle interest rate moves are imminent.At its August meeting Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.5 per cent — marking two years since it last moved.RBA governor Philip Lowe said, in a statement, that conditions in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets had continued to ease and nationwide measures of rent inflation remained low. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE Homes in a street in North Lakes, Brisbane. Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.But despite the prediction of further out-of-cycle rate hikes, just 35 per cent of experts surveyed by finder.com.au believe homeowners should fix their mortgage rate. Finder.com.au insights manager Graham Cooke said mortgage holders should evaluate their interest rate options.“As the market heats up and becomes more turbulent, chances are your bank is going to lift your rate, so why wait around?” Mr Cooke said.“Stop what you’re doing, jump online and get your hands on a lower rate.“Switch to a lender with a more attractive rate or consider restructuring your loan to fix part of your rate — whatever you decide, take action sooner rather than later.” CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said the steady interest rate setting could be attributed to low inflation, record high household debt, a slack labour market and, more recently, falling home values. “Financial markets continue to expect that the cash rate will remain unchanged until at least January 2020,” Mr Lawless said.“Despite the housing market headwinds from tighter credit conditions, the prospect of mortgage rates remaining reasonably stable should help to keep a floor under housing demand.”