John is the CEO of EQ Investors (EQ). After gaining an MA in Engineering at Clare College, Cambridge he went into the City as a research analyst for 10 years. In 1986 he set up Bestinvest and over the next 20 years it grew to become a leading private client advisory and wealth management business with over 50,000 clients. In 2007 Bestinvest was acquired by 3i.
Since then John has built up a portfolio of other interests, including the establishment of a Foundation to support various charities. He has taken a particular interest in projects aimed to increase the use of Early Intervention to reduce child abuse. He has also retained a close interest in investment, being a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and a member of the Investment Committee for Clare College.
John enjoys competitive sport and participates in historic motorsport and international croquet.
In 140 characters or less – what is EQ Investors?
EQ Investors (EQ) is an award-winning boutique wealth manager acting for private clients, small companies and charities all around the UK.
What was the driver for creating EQ Investors – what gap did it fill?
I’ve been in the wealth management business for over 40 years and a professional investor all my working life. I enjoy the different ways you can interact with your clients and provide good services to them.
I am also increasingly concerned that within the industry a large number of shareholders are focused on maximising short-term growth at the expense of client’s best interests. EQ is wholly owned by our staff, which means we can take long term decisions unhindered by any requirement to meet financial targets.
EQ with its ethical bias has a unique proposition which combined with our commitment to client service can offer something genuinely different.
Who does it primarily serve?
Following significant investment over the last eighteen months, we now offer a service for 90% of the savers and investors out there.
Our main role is to make our clients investments work as hard as possible and support that with advice that helps them achieve their objectives.
What difference does EQ Investors want to make?
At EQ we have a strong sense of being a member of a wider community. We are proud to be one of the first UK companies to be awarded B Corporation status, for companies that believe in business as a force for good. We operate a Matched Giving programme to help our clients and staff raise extra funds for their favourite causes and we have set up the EQ Foundation as a registered charity.
Our Positive Impact Portfolios are a unique proposition for clients who care about how and where their money is invested.
What are the barriers to making that difference?
In terms of the industry as whole, undoubtedly regulation. At a time when the FCA has made financial advice only available to the very well-off, people are in need of guidance more than ever. A year after the pension freedoms came into effect, more work is needed on providing cost-effective advice. A 30-minute consultation is definitely not enough. These are complex decisions that shape an individual’s retirement.
In terms of impact investing, historically it was thought this had an adverse impact on performance. However, recent research from Cambridge Associates suggests the complete opposite.
Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?
As you would expect, technology has a key role to play in delivering low cost investment management and advice. I’ve never only wanted to offer a service that is of interest to rich people. That’s why we wanted to launch our Simply EQ telephone-based service. In doing so, we’ve also been able to offer our positive impact portfolio to a wider market.
Strategic question? Tell us about the EQ Foundation
The EQ Foundation is the grant-making charitable arm of EQ Investors. We make a small number of multi-year grants to organisations which focus on achieving positive social, economic and environmental outcomes and that aim to deliver long lasting benefits.
Going forward, we are also interested in impact investment opportunities in social enterprises.
How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about EQ Investors?
Visit our website: http://eqinvestors.co.uk/, follow us on Twitter: @eqinvestors or give us a call – 020 7488 7171.
What are you feelings on SITR and the opportunities it presents?
Social impact investing has the potential to make real change in our society, yet we are still awaiting approval from the EU (eighteen months and counting) to increase the limit that can be raised per organisation from about £250,000 to £5 million. This is essential to get the market moving and I hope the go ahead is received soon.
We intend to be active in this market, both in terms of helping clients to identify attractive proposals and making investments ourselves on behalf of the EQ Foundation.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.
How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands
Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Small waste adds up over time
A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:
- Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
- Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
- Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
- Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.
Going electronic has significant benefits
If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.
Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:
- Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
- Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
- Using financial software to manage your books
- Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
- Arranging digital feedback and review forms
- Making the most of Google Docs
Going green can help you to make money too
Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.
Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.