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Sustainable and Impact Investing

Invest in the momentum of a changing world

The world is rapidly progressing. Technological innovation across nearly every industry, from energy to infrastructure, is transforming the way we live and do business. It’s also presenting significant investment opportunities with those companies leading on the innovation front that are well positioned to grow.


Our suite of sustainable and impact investing solutions can help you invest in the momentum of this changing world with investments that incorporate sustainability analysis alongside traditional financial analysis to identify opportunities and potentially mitigate risks that could affect a company’s profitability. And if you’re looking to align your investments to your personal sustainability and impact preferences while pursuing competitive returns, we can help you do that too.

Take advantage of new opportunities as technology transforms our world

The world is evolving faster than ever before. Look at economic drivers — most industries are going through some type of transformation. Energy, healthcare, education, transportation, agriculture… the list goes on. If your portfolio is not taking this transformation into account with sustainable strategies, you could be missing out on real opportunities.

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Sustainability analysis helps you evaluate potential risks while seeking competitive returns

By combining sustainability analyses with traditional financial and investment analysis, investors can discover new opportunities, better manage risk and pursue competitive financial returns while aligning their investments with their preferences. Supporting evidence shows that, major ESG-related controversies (including data breaches) have wiped out $600bn+ of S&P 500 market cap since 2013 - indicating the role ESG plays in potentially mitigating risk and improving returns.1


The Chief Investment Office due diligence team evaluates sustainable strategies and narrows down investments to those with a high probability of meeting or outperforming objectives.


Our Chief Investment Office due diligence process
For sustainable investing strategies, we apply the same investment standards that we use for traditional strategies and then apply a second set of standards to ensure the strategy also meets our sustainability criteria, including the ability to measure and report on impact results or sustainable goals.

Quantitative review: We look at historical performance and risk compared to the market to ensure an unbiased, numbers-based evaluation of each investment manager.
Qualitative review: We go beyond numbers to look at investment manager credentials, investment processes and risk management approaches with the goal of identifying the best-in-class advisors.
Rigorous governance & oversight: A final, ongoing evaluation is conducted by multiple oversight committees — helping identify the highest-conviction strategies to offer our clients.

Certain research has shown that sustainable investments that incorporate sustainability data have offered competitive performance.

60% of sustainable funds as reported by Morningstar rank in the top two quartiles in their respective category, in terms of performance over a five-year period.2
8.51% vs. 7.83%
Over the last 3 years, returns for the MSCI World ESG Leaders Index gained 8.51% annually, while the MSCI World Index gained 7.83% annually.3
Companies in the highest quintiles for MSCI ESG Ratings for the MSCI ACWI Index have consistently outperformed those companies in the lowest quintile over the last decade.4

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Aligning your portfolio to your personal preferences to create positive change

Sustainable and impact investing allows you to align your investments to your personal preferences. By looking across three broad categories — People, Planet and Principles of Governance — we can help you choose investing strategies that drive positive change in the world.

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Please note that the examples under each theme are illustrative of the types of investments possible, and are not necessarily strategies available today. Investment strategies with a local or targeted market focus may be limited.

Sustainable and impact investing strategies available at Merrill

Managed Strategies5 Mutual funds, thematic exchange-traded funds and separately managed accounts
Alternative Investments5 Sustainable private investments available for qualified investors
Sustainable Total Portfolios5 CIO or Investment Manager portfolios implementing sustainable strategies
Customized Solutions5 SMAs and customized ESG solutions through third-party asset managers
Capital Markets Solutions5,6 Green bonds, sustainability bonds, social impact bonds, Market Linked Investments, Closed-End Funds and Unit Investment Trusts

Bank of America’s commitment to responsible growth

As one of the world’s largest financial institutions, we take a key role in building a more resilient future. Through our strategy of responsible growth, we are deploying capital towards a more sustainable economy — helping to create jobs, develop communities, foster economic mobility, and address society’s biggest challenges around the world.

What is sustainable investing?

What is ESG investing?

Do I have to give up return to invest sustainably?

Is sustainable investing just philanthropy?

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Explore our other solutions

Whether you’re defining goals, addressing change or figuring out how to move forward, Merrill and Bank of America offer a wide range of solutions to help you take the next step and stay on track.

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Source: Factset, BofA U.S. Equity & Quant Strategy, “Includes 35 major controversies related to data breaches, accounting scandals, customer safety, sexual harassment and other ESG topics. January 2023. 

Source: Morningstar, "ESG Funds Recover, but Still Trail Conventional Peers by a Small Margin" Feb. 5, 2024. Percentage is based off 308 total funds, with 182 funds ranked in the top two quartiles of their respective category.

Bloomberg, 5-year returns for the MSCI World ESG Leaders Index gained 13.84% annually, while the MSCI World Index returned 13.41% annually (12/31/2018-12/29/2023). 7-year returns for the MSCI World ESG Leaders Index gained 11.63% annually, while the MSCI World Index returned 11.33% annually (12/30/2016-12/29/2023). Note: These are annualized returns over the respective time periods. 

Source: MSCI, “MSCI ESG Ratings in Global Equity Markets: A Long Term Performance Review” March 2024. Data from Dec. 31, 2012 - Dec. 29, 2023. 

5 Capability offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.

Capability offered by Bank of America, N.A. and its bank affiliates.


Alternative investments are intended for qualified investors only. Alternative investments such as derivatives, hedge funds, private equity funds, and funds of funds can result in higher return potential but also higher loss potential. Changes in economic conditions or other circumstances may adversely affect your investments. Before you invest in alternative investments, you should consider your overall financial situation, how much money you have to invest, your need for liquidity and your tolerance for risk. Alternative investments are speculative and involve a high degree of risk.


Sustainable and Impact investing and/or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) managers may take into consideration factors beyond traditional financial information to select securities, which could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Further, ESG strategies may rely on certain values based criteria to eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating.



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