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The overall number of investment indexes has dropped from last year, led by a contraction in equity indexes, reports the Index Industry Association (IIA).

According to the New York-based trade group, there are currently 2.96 million indexes globally, which is down by about 20% from last year. The IIA said the decline is primarily due to a large number of equity indexes being decommissioned.

“Every firm continuously evaluates their indexes to see if they are redundant, which helps keep costs down for their clients. Ultimately, our members are focused on providing the quality of indexes investors demand that they administer and not necessarily the quantity,” said Rick Redding, CEO of the IIA.

Conversely, the number of environmental, social and governance (ESG) indexes is up by 13.85% from last year, including both equity and fixed income ESG indexes, which the IIA said is fuelled by investor demand for ESG investments.

The number of fixed income indexes overall increased by 7.15% from 2018.

“With three years of data to analyze, we can see interesting trends developing in fixed income and ESG,” said Redding.

“Index providers are continuing to expand their fixed income offerings to give investors more accurate benchmarks. Moreover, the number and variety of ESG indexes indicate that investors are looking for benchmarks that conform to their investment objectives and beliefs,” he added.