AQR is committed to helping our clients achieve their ESG goals. We seek to integrate ESG in both our asset selection and our ownership decisions.
Investment Process and Research
Across the firm, Governance signals are actively traded in the majority of our equity and fixed income portfolios. We also offer dedicated ESG solutions. These include sustainable strategies that focus on broad ESG implications (incorporating both negative screens and positive tilts), low-carbon impact portfolios, and portfolios customized for other client-specific ESG priorities.
Our ESG Research
ESG is an important part of our research agenda. Explore our published research and insights in this area:
Clearing the Air: Responsible Investment
What is ESG? AQR and the UN PRI collaborated to propose a framework of the approaches and terms necessary to have an informed discussion and investment policy on Responsible Investment, grounded in both responsible asset selection and responsible ownership.
(Car)Bon Voyage: The Road to Low Carbon Investment Portfolios
We discuss how an investment portfolio could dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, potentially even achieving a ‘net zero’ carbon footprint. We discuss the pros and cons of techniques to achieve carbon reduction goals, including security selection, shorting high carbon footprint companies, and trading instruments such as carbon offsets and carbon permits.
Investment and Pensions Europe: Viewpoint: To Kick or Not Kick the Proverbial Can Down the Road
In an op-ed published in Investment & Pensions Europe, we review the practical difficulty of achieving a “Net Zero” investment commitment. We demonstrate that the incorporation of shorting can facilitate the creation of net zero, or even net negative, carbon exposure portfolios.
Responsible Asset Selection: ESG in Portfolio Decisions
We discuss how Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations may be incorporated in a portfolio and how they may affect risk and return outcomes.
Responsible Investing: The ESG-Efficient Frontier
Combining several large data sets, we compute the empirical ESG-efficient frontier and show the costs and benefits of responsible investing.
AQR pursues corporate engagement with the aim of promoting greater transparency and disclosure. We vote using a Sustainable policy including proprietary analysis of certain votes in all of our commingled funds and can customize proxy voting in separate accounts to meet client needs. Furthermore, we engage with portfolio companies on a number of issues including important proxy votes and engage with our top firmwide holdings which exhibit ESG issues. We partner with peers or clients on issues that we feel are best addressed through collaborative engagement and pursue research into other areas where our active ownership may exert positive influence on corporate transparency and disclosure of ESG issues.
AQR has been a UN PRI signatory since 2014. We are close collaborators, creating a framework for Responsible Investing together and with AQR colleagues participating in several PRI working groups and committees. AQR is also a supporter of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Through speaking engagements and research, we have contributed to the broad discourse on various ESG topics. Notable highlights include computing the ESG-Efficient Frontier and conducting risk analyses to understand the costs and benefits of socially responsible investing, as well as researching the interaction between machine learning/AI and ESG (specifically climate change).
The AQR Asset Management Institute at London Business School hosts a flagship event each year. In November 2019, the Insight Summit focused on the impact and implications of ESG investing. The event brought together the best of academic and practitioner insights on the topic, featuring presentations by industry experts for an audience of over 300 attendees.
Our Policies & Reports
ESG Annual Report
As part of our commitment to ESG, we release an annual report that details our yearly ESG developments and progress, as well as outlining our ESG approach, governance structure, and dedicated resources. View our 2020 ESG Annual Report here.
Philosophy & Practices
Learn more about our Stewardship Philosophy, which details how we aim to integrate our core values and Responsible Investment objectives with our focus on seeking to maximize long-term value for our clients.
For commingled client assets, AQR takes a sustainable approach to proxy voting in order to promote sustainable practices in portfolio companies. Review our procedures for and approach to proxy voting.
Explore our Engagement Policy, which is grounded in our fundamental belief in open dialogue and transparency, as well as our conviction that improvements in corporate governance are paramount in well-functioning capital markets.
AQR is committed to promoting sustainability and social responsibility. We invest in our people, aim to foster an inclusive environment where all of our employees can thrive, and give back to the communities where we work and live.
People and Culture
Our people are our most valuable asset. We strive to give our employees an exceptional experience driven by intellectual curiosity, constant improvement, and collaboration. Our approach to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment is multi-faceted across recruiting, community-building activities, leadership development programs, policies and training. We also invest significantly in our employees’ careers, leadership skills, and development through Quanta Academy, which includes hundreds of programs each year to help our people reach their potential as leaders.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
At AQR, we offer a supportive, inclusive environment where the contributions of all of our team members are recognized and valued. Our diversity initiatives and networks seek to attract the best and brightest talent to our firm, create a true sense of belonging, and give all of our employees the opportunity to excel and thrive in their careers. The firm has established a Diversity & Inclusion Committee, comprised of senior members of AQR, which serves as a central point of governance and accountability for our diversity efforts and supports our progress across all of our diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Diverse Recruiting Efforts
Our recruiting strategies are comprehensive and aimed at attracting diverse talent to our firm through active outreach. Our programs include the AQR Early Engagement Women’s Summit for high potential female second-year college students, which provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about careers in quantitative finance, as well as the Early Engagement Diversity Summit, a two-day event that offers students a deeper understanding of quantitative finance, the asset management industry and the internship process at AQR.
Communities at AQR
Communities, such as AQR PRIDE, our community of LGBTQ employees and allies, and the AQR Women’s Initiative Network, play an important role in fostering an inclusive environment. Our communities welcome and engage our employees, provide a supportive network, and help to advance recruiting and retention.
The firm is a proud sponsor of BLK Capital Management, a 100% black-owned and student run nonprofit focused on educating members by exposing them to the field of investment management, and has also partnered with #Talkaboutblack in support of The Catalyst After School Program, a new pilot program in London to help students in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
We are committed to creating a more sustainable workplace through education, conservation, and innovation. Our ESG in-Office Initiative brings together colleagues from across the firm to enhance the management of ESG in our own business practices. Our programs have focused on energy use and reduction, waste management and recycling, transportation and community engagement.
As a firm, we strive to make a positive impact in the communities in which we work and live, through employee engagement and financial support. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we focused on organizations that were alleviating hunger for the underserved, supporting those on the frontlines, and helping communities most impacted by the pandemic. We have also focused our giving to several not-for-profit organizations that align with our priorities of social justice, education, and local community partnerships where we believe we can make a difference.
Awards & Recognition
Pension and Investments’ Best Place to Work
AQR has been named one of Pension and Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management for 2020. This is the fourth year in a row that AQR has received this distinction. The firm was recognized for its collaborative and collegial environment, commitment to learning, generous benefits program, and differentiated employee experiences. Read the profile of the firm here.
Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index
AQR has received a score of 100% in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) for the third year in a row, once again making the firm one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” The CEI is a national benchmarking survey measuring LGBTQ workplace equality. The requirements to achieve a perfect score in the survey are comprehensive and extend across benefits, policies, training, education, community involvement, and senior sponsorship.
Certified Carbon Neutral
We are proud to announce that as of 2021, AQR is a CarbonNeutral® certified company through Natural Capital Partners, a third-party climate specialist. Our carbon neutral commitment spans all offices globally and includes business travel related emissions.
*As of June, 30, 2021, ~80% of AQR’s assets under management integrated ESG-related alpha or risk signals. We include ESG-related signals in our multi-factor security selection models as standard, and have since AQR’s inception; in all portfolios, we will incorporate ESG to the extent that we believe it improves the risk/return profile, consistent with our research on the ESG-efficient frontier.
**As of the same date, AQR managed ~$25 billion in dedicated ESG solutions, designed in service of our clients’ non-financial objectives. These include ~$20 billion in carbon-aware portfolios (customized to have lower carbon intensity than a given benchmark, for example) and over $9 billion in our Sustainable strategies, two processes which may also be combined. The Sustainable process seeks to avoid companies with the largest ESG risk exposures by imposing static and dynamic exclusions, while targeting an improvement in portfolio ESG profile; in relaxed constraint and alternatives portfolios, we may actively short the worst ESG offenders.