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Outperformance Through Investing in ESG in Need

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To maximize their effectiveness, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies should target those ESG firms that are most capital constrained. Inherently, this involves seeking ESG firms that have irrationally high costs of capital and thus high expected return. We replicate results that find returns among ESG firms that are similar to those among non-ESG firms. In addition, we find that sorting stocks based on cost of equity capital generates significant positive return for both ESG and non-ESG firms. Investing in an ESG in Need index, which contains only high-ESG companies and tilts toward firms with high cost of capital, thus generates both higher social value and better return than investing in traditional capitalization-weighted ESG indexes.


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Issued by Rayliant Investment Research d/b/a Rayliant Asset Management (“Rayliant”). Unless stated otherwise, all names, trademarks and logos used in this material are the intellectual property of Rayliant.


This document is for information purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument and should not be construed as an investment advice. Any securities, sectors or countries mentioned herein are for illustration purposes only. Investments involves risk. The value of your investments may fall as well as rise and you may not get back your initial investment. Performance data quoted represents past performance and is not indicative of future results. While reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, Rayliant does not give any warranty or representation, expressed or implied, and expressly disclaims liability for any errors and omissions. Information and opinions may be subject to change without notice. Rayliant accepts no liability for any loss, indirect or consequential damages, arising from the use of or reliance on this document.


Hypothetical, back-tested performance results have many inherent limitations. Unlike the results shown in an actual performance record, hypothetical results do not represent actual trading. Also, because these trades have not actually been executed, these results may have under- or over- compensated for the impact, if any, of certain market factors, such as lack of liquidity. Simulated or hypothetical results in general are also subject to the fact that they are designed with the benefit of hindsight. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown. In fact, there are frequently sharp differences between hypothetical performance results and the actual results subsequently achieved by any investment manager.