Education and organization of retail investors was given top billing in the 2011 NSFM participant survey responses. Participants ranked their priorities for the coming year as:
- Educate and organize retail investors around sustainability;
- Address regulatory and oversight issues;
- Improve measures and reports to account for externalities (tied with) promote climate bonds, clean energy and targeted investing;
- Enhance risk management tools for long-term investors; and
- Mainstream sustainability into investment processes.
While these were not the only issues cited, many participants provided additional comments that also highlighted these specific topics as key priorities. Other participant focus suggestions for 2011 included linking NSFM initiatives with those of similar organizations; reframing issues to better fit mainstream investment concepts; publishing additional reports; becoming better advocates for sustainability; devoting more attention to analysis of debt issues; convening NSFM roundtable meetings or conferences; and obtaining a source of funding for NSFM functions.
Some of these priorities have already been the subject of NSFM initiatives. For example, NSFM Consultation Papers have covered regulatory solutions for risky derivatives; reforms to address industry conflicts of interest; and development of sustainability services for the high net worth sector. NSFM initiatives have also created successful stand-alone projects on climate bond standards; regulatory and fiduciary duty changes to promote longer-term investment thinking; and new approaches for addressing preventable surprises in the petroleum industry and beyond.
However, NSFM only works when people of like mind come forward to interact and collaborate on research or advocacy projects. The participant survey provides valuable information about shared priorities amongst NSFM participants. If you are an NSFM participant and would like to explore organization of a potential initiative around participant priorities or other sustainability issues, have ideas about how NSFM could have more impact, or would like to help in any other way, then please contact the NSFM Coordinating Team President, Raj Thamotheram, at email@example.com. If you are not an NSFM participant but would like to become one, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.