Another year and return to work after the long break, may 2016 be an excellent year for you all. Here are my thoughts from the holiday:
is not Just for Christmas
and its never too late to Adopt.
There are many ways to make a positive impact, investing for good and making the right choices about your life. Share your life and give love. To this end I offer a plea for and to all those elderly singles who have outlived their canine companions. Think again if you have decided against a replacement.
In June 2014 an elderly client lost her Bichon age 15. Chrystal (the Bichon) had comforted her when her husband died in 2003, had encouraged her to walk and take exercise and been a constant presence in her home. The loss was deeply felt. However she had, like so many others before her and since, decided that she would not have another dog because of her age.
In December she started to consider the decision again and over the Christmas period found a 5 year old cross breed that needed her as much as she needed the companionship. The Dogs Trust promise never to put down a healthy dog, go to considerable care to ensure the right dog goes to the right people, people who can easily provide the appropriate environment and training. My client seems to have found her ideal companion and little Twinkle has a new home where she receives the care and quiet affection she needs. A happy ending!!
In the past I have had clients whose family discourage them from taking on a new dog, as the family do not want the responsibility if mum goes to hospital, a care home or dies. How sad that mum or dad are denied the companionship and affection, when Dogs Trust are committed to taking back or fostering any dog they rehome, when circumstances require it.
A welcome opportunity to do some personal reading
Christmas gave me an opportunity to re visit Sir Paul Collier’s book “The Plundered Planet“.
I am glad I did and recommend you do the same. He argues, the way to lift the bottom Billion out of poverty is for them to benefit from their share of the natural capital. Lifted out of poverty, they no longer pose an unsolvable challenge to the “developed” world. Perhaps it is timely to remind ourselves that the Syrian war started when millions were left by their Government to starve during a draught!
A quick browse through a Woman’s magazine gave me this quote from Meryl Streep : which agrees with my philosophy entirely. “Be a mindful shopper. Think about the impact your purchases make: Is what I buy good for the environment? Where is it made? How are people who make it treated? “
Why sustainable stocks can generate stronger returns
There is a surprisingly entrenched misconception that sustainable investment or ethical funds must generate worse investment returns than traditional funds.
There is no evidence that sustainable investment funds perform any differently from traditional mainstream funds. Perhaps the most thorough review of the performance of sustainable investment funds versus traditional funds is the ‘Demystifying Responsible Investment Report’ by UNEP FI and Mercer. They looked at 20 academic studies into returns from sustainable investment strategies. Three were negative, seven neutral and ten positive. Not conclusive perhaps, but certainly supportive. Then when we look at the returns from our funds over many years versus mainstream benchmarks we see further evidence of strong investment returns, with risk/volatility not significantly different from the benchmark.
All fund managers will screen out certain areas of the market for different reasons. We screen out stocks which we think are unsustainable and unethical as we believe that these are the least attractive areas of the market for investment.
There is emerging evidence to suggest more sustainable companies perform better than their less sustainable peers. Both qualitative reviews (Margolis and Walsh, 2003) and meta-analyses (Margolis et al., 2009; Orlitzky et al., 2003) generally point towards a positive relationship between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance.
A strong example of this is in the study “The Impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Processes and Performance” (Eccles, Ioannou, Serafeim, 2013).
This study tracked the financial performance of 180 companies between 1992 and 2010. It found that sustainable companies outperformed their ‘unsustainable’ peers; ‘Significant variation in accounting and stock market performance across the two groups of firms in the long run’ as measured in return on assets, return on equity and share price return. Another important outcome of the study was that sustainable companies have less volatile share prices as they attract long term shareholders.
Former Pensions Minister defends triple lock
Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb has warned that abolishing the triple lock would have a ‘devastating impact’ on the retirement prospects of millions of women.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, 24 October 2015, Mr Webb criticised the report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which suggested annual increases to the state pension should be scrapped, arguing: ‘[On] this occasion I believe that the policy conclusion it has drawn is completely wrong and risks undermining one of the big policy successes of recent years….
for most women, the state pension provides more than half of their total income in retirement, so a weakening of the state pension will disproportionately disadvantage them.’
Mr Webb continued that although some people claim that the triple lock is ‘simply unaffordable’, rises in state pension ages and the new single-tier state pension will ‘strip out long-term cost pressures from the system’.
He wrote: ‘Taken as a whole, a decent, simple state pension paid at a later age is entirely affordable, and is a big improvement on the complex and inadequate mess we have at the moment. The triple lock is one of the big successes of recent pensions policy.’