Wealth manager launches positive impact options

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Wealth manager launches positive impact options

HFMC Wealth is offering clients the option to invest in companies which have a positive impact on issues such as climate change and human rights, through a new range of positive impact portfolios.

The portfolios have conservative, balanced and growth options and are available on an advisory or discretionary basis.

The portfolios are made up of 15 to 20 regulated onshore funds as well as the option of multi-asset, risk-tiered portfolios.

They will be managed by Rob Pemberton and James Tuson, both of whom have been investment managers with the firm for more than 10 years.

Mr Tuson said: "Consumers are increasingly concerned that their investments have a positive impact on the world. Climate change, the environment, equality, human rights and labour standards drive today’s agenda.

"These new portfolio options seek to address all these issues, focusing on the positive impact companies have rather than simply those which pass an ethical test."

He added: "Understandably though, investors don’t want to compromise performance simply to satisfy their ethical preferences. We anticipate that the risk/reward equation of these new portfolios to be broadly consistent with ‘traditional’ portfolios."

The funds included as part of the portfolios have tailored investment approaches to incorporate either:

  • an ‘ethical’ screen to filter the ‘bad stuff’ such as tobacco, arms and big polluters;
  • use of an environmental, social and corporate governance framework to engage companies to deliver positive societal and environmental change; or
  • investments are made in firms that are actively engaging in a business that delivers a positive benefit to society or provides solutions to environmental and social challenges.

Jeremy Hoyland, HFMC Wealth chief executive officer, said: "The investment world is changing; only recently, Legal & General Investment Management called on companies to address the challenge of climate change.

"It’s also clear that older generations have woken up to the world’s environmental and social challenges. Meanwhile, younger generations, who will ultimately inherit their parent’s wealth, also want to invest in a way which has a positive impact.

"The launch of these portfolios confirms our innovative approach to asset management by meeting these changing needs. They will allow investors of all generations to invest in a way which is in keeping with their outlook."

In November 2016, Legal & General Investment Management introduced the climate impact pledge to encourage companies to address climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy.

In June 2018, it assessed, scored and ranked 84 of the world's largest companies against more than 50 indicators, including whether they had a corporate statement that recognises the impact of climate change.

The companies that had made the most progress to address climate risk included oil and gas company Total, French bank BNP Paribas and food and drink company Nestlé.

Legal & General Investment Management believes that responsible investing in these kind of companies can improve returns by mitigating the risk.

Meryam Omi, head of sustainability and responsible investment strategy at Legal & General Investment Management, said: "Following high-profile failures in corporate stewardship, such as at Tesla, Carillion, GE and BHS – there is now even greater scrutiny from clients, regulators and governments. Our objective is to raise the standards of the companies and markets in which we invest on behalf of our clients."

Government outsourcer Carillion collapsed in January 2018 which left the company with a pensions deficit of hundreds of millions of pounds. A similar thing happened to BHS when it collapsed in April 2016 leading to a pensions deficit of £571m.

"In practice, our active ownership approach means we continually push for positive change and this is done by engaging with companies on issues including sustainability, executive pay, diversity and political lobbying by corporates," said Ms Omi.

"We can put pressure on companies to improve through regular engagement or using LGIM’s shareholder voting power. For example, last year we voted against 3,864 directors globally in 2018, up 37 per cent since 2017."

Mr Tuson said: "Ethical investing has significantly increased in popularity and importance over the last ten years as society’s attitude towards the environment has changed, led by the millennials and Generation Z. 

"Climate change, the environment, resource scarcity, cleaner energy, ageing populations, equality, human rights and labour standards drive today's agenda in society. 

"We need to ensure that what we offer clients is relevant today and continues to have relevance in the future. With client time frames measured in terms of decades it would not surprise me at all, as wealth begins to pass through the generations, that this becomes the default choice."


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