This fund lands in the 10% of strategies with the highest ESG risk in the US Equity Large Cap Value category, earning it the lowest Morningstar Sustainability Rating of 1 globe. Investors concerned about ESG risk may be better off with funds earning 4 or 5 globes as they tend to hold securities less exposed to ESG risk. 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.
One potential issue for a sustainability-focused investor is that Neuberger Berman Equity Income 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 18.17% involvement in fossil fuels, which is higher than 12.92% 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.
Neuberger Berman Equity Income Fund's Carbon Risk Score of 13.56 is at the lower end of the medium carbon risk band. This score represents the asset-weighted carbon risk score of the portfolio's equity or corporate bond holdings, averaged over the trailing 12 months. This suggests the fund’s current holdings are moderately positioned to transition to a low-carbon economy. 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. The fund has a modest level of exposure (8.67%) to companies with high or severe controversies. Companies with high or severe controversies are involved in incidents such as corruption, employee abuses, environmental incidents, and corporate scandals that pose serious business risks to the company.