Two thirds of investors never offered ethical funds – FT Adviser

UK investors want their money to create a positive social and environmental change by investing in progressive and pioneering businesses, according to research.

The analysis by the Impact Investing survey from Triodos Bank UK found that while demand for positive investments is growing, 67 per cent of investors have never been offered ethical or sustainable investment opportunities. 

The results coincide with Good Money Week, a national campaign to raise awareness of sustainable, responsible and ethical finance.

Bevis Watts, managing director of Triodos Bank UK, said: “Our survey shows that an overwhelming majority of UK investors increasingly recognise the power of money to be a powerful tool for change. 

“They know they can exert a positive influence on our wider society by simply channelling their investments into things that benefit not only themselves but also the world around them. They are looking for investment opportunities that allow them to support pioneering and innovative companies making a positive difference, while receiving good long-term returns.” 

The survey revealed a widespread desire for change, with eight out of 10 investors saying they want to see a fairer and more sustainable society.

The poll also found 55 per cent believe businesses have the power to solve many of the biggest challenges the world faces today. And 71 per cent said businesses have the power to create positive social and environmental change. 

By contrast, 50 per cent said the Government seems powerless to change society for the better.

Many investors recognise the risk associated with investing in companies that damage society and the environment yet 56 per cent do not know which companies or industries are included in their investment funds or pension. 

Martin Bamford, chartered financial planner at Surrey-based Informed Choice, said: “Every adviser should discuss preferences for ethical and socially responsible investing with their clients, at the start of the advice relationship and then periodically to ensure views are unchanged.

“To hear that two-thirds of investors have never been offered these investments is very worrying and highlights a potential failure in the advice process.

“Our clients occasionally express an interest in this type of investing, which we discuss with them in depth before making recommendations to suit their objectives.

“Investing to make positive social or environmental change isn’t always straightforward as it results in a restricted universe of investment options. Depending on the strength of their conviction, some clients are happy to stick with mainstream portfolios once they understand the limitations and risks associated with ethical investing.”

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