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Opinion: The megatrend of ‘digitalization’ is key to a sustainable economy, says the new head of ESG at American Century

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Sarah Bratton Hughes: “We’re going to need new and immersive technologies to help us get to where we need to be.”

Sarah Bratton Hughes, the new head of ESG and sustainable investing for American Century. ESG investing has come under scrutiny this year as regulators have given the popular investment strategy a closer look and many funds have underperformed benchmarks such as the S&P 500 Index.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed tighter rules regarding ESG labels on mutual funds and exchange traded funds. The watchdog also proposed that funds disclose how they incorporate rules around environmental, social and governance into their investment-selection process and strategies.

With underperformance, criticism of the strategy has also picked up, with some critics claiming it doesn’t work.

Sarah Bratton Hughes, the new head of ESG and sustainable investing for Kansas City, Missouri-based American Century, a $250 billion global investment manager, considers the greater regulatory interest good for the industry, which has seen a groundswell of investment products and dollars flowing to it.

“There was no regulation around it before, so I see it as a positive sign of the success of the industry,” she says. She added: “I also view some of the pushback is […]

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