Talking Point  

Clients increasingly seeking ethical investments

Clients increasingly seeking ethical investments

Advised clients are increasingly seeking ethical investments, particularly clients aged 25-34, research has suggested.

In a survey of 1500 UK adults, carried out by Atomik Research and commissioned by Rathbone Greenbank Investments, 18 per cent of respondents wanted to put more ethical investments into their pension pots.

More than 23 per cent also said they would not like to invest in companies with whose business or conduct they disagreed.

John David, head of Rathbone Greenbank Investments, commented: "For those looking to use their money to make a positive difference to society, making ethical consumer choices or boycotting a company that contravenes their own personal beliefs may seem like the logical choice. But there are other ways of driving lasting change.

"What many consumers aren’t aware of is how ethical and sustainable investment can be a powerful tool in helping to shift the mindset and direction of a company."

He commented that initiatives such as Good Money Week could do "a great job" at increasing consumer awareness, but added that more needs to be done by the ethical and sustainable investment community to raise awareness of the choices available.

"Advisers, too, can play their part in promoting ethical choices among their clients", he added.

The research also showed a large generational divide in attitudes towards ethical investment, with those aged between 25-34 far more likely get involved with social impact investing (at 36 per cent) than over 45s (at just 6 per cent).

Some 28 per cent of the 25-34 age group said that using shareholdings to positively impact a company’s activities was the best way to use money for good, again contrasting sharply with the 5 per cent of over 45s.

In a poll taken among financial advisers for FTAdviser Talking Point, 36 per cent of advisers said more than 10 per cent of their client base were already investing in ethical funds or in sustainable companies.

According to the poll, 13 per cent said less than 10 per cent of the client base was interested in ethical investments, while 27 per cent of advisers said their clients had no money at all in ethical investments. 

This comes as YouGov research for Good Money Week revealed that 47 per cent of UK adults said they wished their money to be invested with an element of making a positive difference.

Some 40 per cent wanted a fossil fuel free option, up from 35 per cent last year and 32 per cent in 2015.

Moreover, 57 per cent of investors under 24 want to see fossil fuel free fund options from financial advisers, but only 34 per cent of over 45s do.

As part of Good Money Week, The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) also conducted research, which showed 57 per cent of investors believed that investment managers have a responsibility to ensure the companies they invest in on behalf of their clients are managed in a ‘positive’ way.