Corporate Governance

I have been urging people to look at better investments for the past 15 years and finally the theory has been tested.  Would Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments do better in a crisis? 

Yes, they did.

Most of the good performance has come by always adhering to Environmental, Social and Governance standards (ESG).

I know that my clients and most other investors understand the benefit to the environment and society.  What I do not know is if other investors and their advisers understand that a fundamental change has already taken place.

The changes will continue, and it is going to be difficult to spot the difference between ‘greenwash’ and the real deal, now that the flood gates have opened.

The shift started during the financial crisis a decade ago.  At the time I was asked to comment on BBC Bristol Radio on Ethical investing. 

My strongest memory is of the journalist who expressed disbelief that it was possible to question your adviser, bank, or pension manager about the assets they held. 

For my part, the idea that you hand over your savings without understanding what it was financing was unacceptable and contributed to the financial crash. 

MORE ON THIS HERE

Clean Slate: Green Slate

This year’s Good Money Week was all about giving your money an ethical overhaul.

This pandemic has been a wake-up call for many of us in many different senses, but especially when it comes to our finances.

That’s why the theme of this year’s Good Money Week was ‘Clean Slate Green Slate’, encouraging people to consider green options as they start afresh with their finances.

This year we commissioned FinText to analyse public conversations between private investors on the Reddit platform and found that ESG rarely came up and when it did it was often objected to.

We also share the results of our YouGov survey which shows that while half of us saved money and many are now talking our finances more seriously, most of those who saved would prefer a bog-standard savings account to an ISA or investment platform.

However, 51% of us want the government to prioritise lowering emissions when it builds back better even if it takes longer and 49% wants an affordable build back better bond. 


Jan works with UKSIF and Good Money

Our ESG Commitment

Environment :
Our Environmental responsibilities are personal. 
We care about our businesses impact on our neighbours, our community, nature and the world we inhabit. 
We commit to Net Zero by 2030.

Social :
We believe in the ability of business to do good in our local, national and global communities, avoiding all investments that do harm. 
We pay our taxes and additionally contribute to local charities.

Governance :
We are transparent in all our transactions. 
We charge an agreed fixed fee for initial advice and no additional “adviser facilitated initial fee”. 
We are small, we are local, we have a Global view.

Is your pension a quiet one?

It’s always the quiet ones you have to watch, so Mum used to say: “What are they not telling you? What have they got to hide? Never trust the quiet ones.”

Your pension is probably a quiet one – and it’s keeping schtum for a reason. The last thing it wants you to do is start taking an interest. Because then you’d know its (probably dark) truth and you’d start meddling and creating a lot of work for your pension and those managing it.

It’s even more tempting though, isn’t it, when you know it doesn’t want you to… Of course, you should. Because you need to know: is yours the right pension for you?

If you are in a Company Pension you should ask the person responsible for this – how and where is my money invested? Have you asked your employer how they manage your pension?

And, if you have a personal pension does your adviser talk about how your investment meets your preferences?

You can talk to me – a free initial meeting to learn more about this
– or read this to get started: Hot off the press,
the new Good Guide to Pensions 
will intimately acquaint you with your pension, with the hope that you can see its marvellous potential to change the world – and all the places it might currently be invested in that are definitely NOT helping the planet.

Sustainable funds outperform market

Sustainable funds outperform market

This Good Money Week, the latest Good Investment Review reveals that sustainable funds have outperformed the sector average over the last FIVE years – and in particular throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Since 2015, the ethical UK equity funds monitored have brought average returns of 25.76 per cent compared with 16.52 per cent for the sector. Meanwhile, the ethical global equity funds studied returned an average of 85.23 per cent compared with 76.12 per cent for the sector.

In the eight months to October 2020, 12 of the 15 ethical UK equity funds studied performed better than the market average (80 per cent), as did 41 out of the 56 global ethical funds (73 per cent).

The October 2020 review from Good With Money reveals that despite the financial turmoil of the global pandemic, assets held in funds with an ethical or sustainable label in the UK have continued to rise, reaching a whopping £158 billion. This is up 14 per cent from the previous six months.

John Fleetwood, Director of Responsible and Sustainable Investing at Square Mile, says: “positive impact need not come at the expense of financial returns, and if anything, investing for positive impact can improve returns.”

The Good Investment Review October 2020

As Good Money Week 2020 begins, the ninth Good Investment Review finds that sustainable funds have outperformed the sector average over the last five years – and in particular throughout the coronavirus crisis.

Since 2015, the ethical UK equity funds monitored in the review have brought average returns of 25.76 per cent compared with 16.52 per cent for all funds in the sector. Meanwhile, the ethical global equity funds monitored have returned an average of 85.23 per cent compared with 76.12 per cent for the sector.

In the eight months to October 2020, 12 of the 15 ethical UK equity funds studied performed better than the market average (80 per cent), as did 41 out of the 56 global ethical funds (73 per cent).

The October 2020 review reveals that despite the financial turmoil of the global pandemic, ‘assets under management’ held within funds with an ethical or sustainable label in the UK have continued to rise, reaching a whopping £158 billion  – up 14 per cent from the previous six months.

The rise represents further evidence of the surge in interest in investing for positive impact or with environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in mind.

John Fleetwood, founder of 3D Investing (now part of Square Mile Consulting and Research), said: “The evidence shows that positive impact need not come at the expense of financial returns, and if anything, investing for positive impact can improve returns.”

The latest review covers developments in methodology for measuring ethical and sustainable funds, and attempts to clear up some of the confusion over the different terminology used to describe them.

There is must-read commentary from some of the UK’s top ethical and sustainable fund managers.

The Review rates funds that have an ethical or sustainable approach according to how well they do what they say on the tin.

NEW LAMPS FOR OLD

A bad outcome for Aladdin . . .
. . . but what if you could change your old pension for new?

What if that new pension had fairer charges and better outcomes?

Fairer charges: 
Many are still holding on to old pension funds, unaware of the amount of charge being taken every year to cover the administration of the funds or what exactly that charge is paying for. 
Often annual valuations sit gathering dust, unreadable and a mystery to most except the people who produced them.
Is the pension giving value for money or is it just a neglected asset that only has meaning when we decide to start withdrawing money. 
Often the pension fund is our second most valuable asset after our home and, like our homes, if no regular maintenance is done, it fails to achieve its highest value. 

Keeping informed about old pension funds, particularly where you have several from different providers, is not remotely interesting to most people and at best takes you away from more interesting pursuits.

However, just like house maintenance or a regular visit to the dentist it can make a big difference later. 
It can be more pleasurable than a visit to the dentist, once you understand what you are looking at and how to judge it. 
Knowledge, in this case, is to have the means of control.
You could even learn to love your annual review.

Better outcomes:
They come in two ways, better financial returns for you and understanding of what you are investing in and that those investments are technologies of the future, for example not oil and gas but alternative energy. 
Not only would that represent better social outcomes but better returns as the world abandons old lifestyles and embraces the post COVID-19 world of remote working, medical research and better care facilities.

The City woke up to the challenges of climate change when the insurance claims started to build.

Many of us started to take notice when David Attenborough spoke of the damage done from plastic waste and now we know that pandemics are the result of us invading the wild world and turning it into a place of production to satisfy humanities constant need for more and more consumption.

As a member if the Ethical Investment community since 2005, an Independent Financial Adviser since 1992 and someone committed to better outcomes for each of my clients, can I help you exchange your old pensions for new?