ESG: Assessing regulatory risks in technology

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  • 02 mins 16 secs
MFS research analyst Pooja Daftary discusses how our ESG integration can help us understand material risks driven by technology, from regulatory and consumer privacy perspectives, and how that impacts our investment view.


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Companies in the technology sector have made our lives very easy in the last 10 years and have generated so many benefits from the way we commute to the way we can order food to the way we can do our grocery shopping and how we communicate with others over the phone or over video, a telecommunications system. However, in many cases, technology has grown at breakneck speed. And while innovating, the regulatory framework has not developed as fast. And when we look at the regulatory risks around technology right now, much of it relates to the way in which governments are now using the data that is generated by technology companies. And although governments use it in a way to increase the benefits that are given to society, whether it's improved methods of tax collection, faster access to immigration in a security line because of artificial intelligence, things that make our lives easier, it also gives them unparalleled access to data that they can use for surveillance purposes, which for us is a growing concern in China. It's a growing concern in India. And then these surveillance functions go back to the businesses that we invest in, because these governments will then use these businesses to affect the surveillance that they want. They will ask them for consumer data. So if you are a platform in China that has E-commerce and ridesharing and Wallet, you have an unparalleled amount of data on your servers. And when the government gets access to that data, it puts consumer privacy at risk. And that might impact consumer engagement. And if engagement with a platform is impacted, the value of that platform could deteriorate exponentially. And these are the kinds of, you know, multifaceted and constantly evolving risks that we have to, in very real-time fashion, include in our investment process and in our assessment of the value of a security.

Please keep in mind that a sustainable investing approach does not guarantee positive results.
The views expressed are those of the speakers and are subject to change at any time. These views are for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a recommendation to purchase any security or as a solicitation or investment advice from the Advisor.