If your answer is, “Are you kidding me? See all the educational material we’ve got on our website! And just look at the product range we’re offering!” …then, you’re not wearing your client hat. And your prospective clients are probably punishing you for it.

One of the unintended consequences of the ESG boom is that many investors are being left behind—confused and even overwhelmed by the blizzard of sustainable investing (SI) terms, concepts and products.

Source: UBS. (January, 2020). Becoming Climate Aware – Mobilizing capital to help meet climate change goals: an investor’s perspective.

Source: Schroders. (2018). Global Investor Study – Is information key to increasing sustainable investments?

You might be thinking “Well, that’s why we have advisors, who can explain and handhold clients on their SI journey.” Problem is, advisors themselves are also feeling confused and ill-equipped to help clients make sense of sustainable investing. And that number is moving in the wrong direction!

Source: Nuveen, Fifth Annual Responsible Investing Survey, 2020.

The client and advisor confusion magnifies the importance of your web experience for prospects and clients who are early in their sustainable investing journeys – educating themselves, figuring out what’s important to them, understanding what’s even possible when it comes to having their money do well and do good…ultimately, helping them discover their own best-fit sustainable investing path.

As part of the foundational research we did for our recent ESG insight paper, we mystery shopped the web experience of large wealth management firms. We didn’t come away feeling like we had received a client-centric experience—one that really simplifies and clarifies the research and decision-making process for clients. On balance, it felt like the web experience was a little bit of education, quickly leading to ESG product lineups and a button to open an account.

So, to help, here’s a little self-test to gauge how client-centric your web experience is for clients who are discovering ESG investing.

Put yourself in your website visitor’s shoes. Imagine a prospective client…a trusted friend has just told them they’ve shifted a big chunk of their retirement savings into ESG funds. Wanting to learn more about sustainable investing, your prospective client Googles “[your firm name] sustainable investing”, and clicks the first organic listing that comes up for your firm.

Now, for each of the five areas below, pick the statement that best describes your firm’s current web experience from that landing page.

  1. On the first web page visitors hit
    A)…they don’t really do anything other than clicking or reading or watching…
    B)…there are a variety of interactive tools and features that engage the client’s active thinking brain.
  1. As visitors progress through our ESG web experience…
    A)…the opportunities to engage and share a little about themselves are mostly in filling out fields to download our white papers and thought leadership or to contact an advisor, open an account, etc.
    B)…clients can progressively give a little info about themselves (e.g., their SI interests or preferences) and get something personalized in return that helps them better understand themselves in a SI context.
  1. The ESG-related tools a visitor encounters on their web experience with us…
    A)…help clients learn about and/or select ES