In an interview with CNBC, founder and CEO of Baron Capital Ron Baron stressed that it’s important to consider ESG factors when choosing where to invest. In the face of many states looking to pass legislation to discourage consideration of ESG, Baron says that “we do consider those factors [and] good governance,” adding that it’s important to know whether a company treats its employees well because those companies will attract and retain the best. By being conscious of ESG factors, it makes it less likely that the companies in which he’s investing will have risks that he’s not aware of. And to those that believe making the most money is more important than considering ESG, Baron says that his firm has outperformed because they do consider ESG factors; 98.8% of their funds have beaten the market, and 45.5% are in the top one percent and number one in their categories. And the Baron Partners Fund is the number-one performing mutual fund in the U.S. since its inception in 2003.
At his firm, Baron says they tend not to worry about the market, or interest rates, or the economy. There’s rarely been a good news year in his entire career, Baron says, but the stock market has still managed to go up 34 times since 1970, and the economy has also gone up 33 times in that period as well. Growth is accelerating, and Baron predicts that it will accelerate at least 7% over the next 50 years. That means that “you’ll have 35 times your money over the next 50 years,” Baron says. But inflation will also accelerate, and things will be “twice as expensive in 14 or 15 years,” he added. While it may go lower at times, it won’t stay low, because “it’s part of our economic program,” Baron told CNBC.