Virtus Ceredex Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund may not appeal to sustainability-conscious investors.
Virtus Ceredex Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund's holdings are exposed to average levels of ESG risk relative to those of its peers in the US Equity Mid Cap category, thus earning it an average Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 3 globes. Competing funds in the category with ratings of 4 or 5 globes have less ESG risk in their holdings. ESG risk provides investors with a signal that reflects to what degree their investments are exposed to risks related to material ESG issues, such as climate change and inequalities, that are not sufficiently managed. ESG risk differs from impact, which is about seeking positive environmental and social outcomes.
The fund exhibits negligible exposure (1.75%) to companies with high or severe controversies. From bribery and corruption to workplace discrimination and environmental incidents, controversies can have significant financial repercussions, ranging from legal penalties to consumer boycotts. In addition, controversies can damage the reputation of both companies themselves and their shareholders.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that Virtus Ceredex Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund doesn’t have an ESG-focused mandate. Funds with an ESG-focused mandate are more likely to align with the expectations of an investor who cares about sustainability issues. Currently, the fund has 15.73% involvement in fossil fuels, which is higher than 15.24% for the average peer in its category. Companies are considered involved in fossil fuels if they derive some revenue from thermal coal, oil, and gas.
Virtus Ceredex Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund has an asset-weighted Carbon Risk Score of 13.07. This is situated at the lower end of the medium carbon risk band, suggesting that its current equity and/or bond holdings are moderately positioned to transition to a low-carbon economy. Investors concerned about the transition risks may prefer to consider funds with negligible or low carbon risk. Funds with a lower carbon risk classification may be more favored by investors concerned about transition risks, as such funds often tilt toward companies that operate in sectors less exposed to the transition (for example, healthcare and IT) or companies in more carbon-intensive sectors (for example, materials and utilities) that consider climate change in their business strategy, and therefore are positively aligned with the transition.