George Critchley

In Summer 2017, True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners were invited to be the initial ‘guinea pig’ IFA firm to take part in an intriguing survey. This survey created by Discretionary Wealth Management firm Pennine Wealth Solutions, was to discover the true feelings of investors for ESG or sustainable investing.

For clarity E stands for Environmental, S stands for Social, and G stands for Good Corporate Governance (historically terms like ethical, and green have also been used).

The background to this survey, is that when asked, the general public state that 70% of them would invest at least some of their funds in ESG investments. Paradoxically, general IFA’s state that less than 10% of their investors are interested in pursuing ESG options. So who is correct? The survey is to establish the true picture. Are most IFA’s behind the times?

This question is crucial. IFA’s manage the investments of billions of pounds. If a shift occurs, a positive impact to some of the worlds major challenges is likely to follow.

For you, your children and grandchildren this is critical.

ESG investing has existed for decades, yet today only 3% of total funds under management are invested this way. It is a pitiful situation.

The survey asked just 9 questions. 167 investor clients were asked to respond. Both online and hard copy via the post were tried. Incredibly 72 investors responded, a response rate of 43.1%. Many of the responses included free text clarifying further the investors views and opinions. The high response rate and the comments left us in no doubt. This subject stirs the EMOTIONS.

Of the 72 respondents, 76% expressed the view that they wanted their investments to do good and definitely avoid bad things. If we assume all those who didn’t respond, did so because the subject has no interest or attraction to them, then 32.9% OF THE INVESTING PUBLIC WANT TO INVEST IN POSITIVE INVESTMENTS. If this is correct, then the aforementioned 3% of total UK assets managed should increase many times over.

The survey showed that the majority of IFA’s are not only behind the times, but missing a trick. They are part of the problem, by not providing a route for their clients to fulfill their objectives.

The survey asked the investors if there was a perceived greater risk, or potentially lower returns in their thinking about ESG investments. However, the greater majority stated that this was not the case. Put simply, if their IFA adviser made it easy and straightforward for them, they wanted to invest at least some of their monies in a positive manner.

The initial survey included 3 individual IFA’s and their clients. In Autumn of 2017 more IFA’s are to participate. Why wouldn’t they, the results are creating more business for them. As the sample size grows, the figures will be updated, and more accuracy will follow. However some conclusions are easy to make.

The public’s views have moved on over the past 5-10 years. They believe in large numbers that they want their investment strategy not just to make money, but to do some good. They are cynical about corporate practices and doubtful that politicians have a grip on poor environmental and corporate practice.

As far as True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners are concerned, a corner has been turned. Positive investing solutions are now part of the everyday processes. IFA training and understanding has been developed. True Bearing wants to help make a difference.

As one of the North West’s leading IFA firms and winners of numerous regional business awards we simply must reflect our clients objectives.

Chairman, George Critchley, says “Both the potential investment gains and good social or environmental benefits make ESG investing mainstream in 2017. As a father of 3 children and grandfather of 5 young grandchildren, my mind is focused. Together with our clients we will do our bit to help our planet.



*source Personal Finance Society (summer 2017)