Friday 28th October 2016                 Change text size:

Why I chose ethical investment: helping fund innovative companies

Photo: sanja gjenero via stock.xchng

Julie King is an ethical investor. After setting up a private pension, she began looking for ways her money would be able to make a positive difference to the world.

A financial services employee and keen traveller, she contacted Virtuo Wealth, specialist ethical financial advisers based in Edinburgh, and step-by-step, embarked on her ethical investment journey.

Blue & Green Tomorrow caught up with Julie to find out why she explicitly wanted her money to have a positive impact.

Why have you chosen to consider ethical investment?

I guess for me it’s one of the few times in your life that you’ve got sole control over where your money goes and what it can be invested in. It’s quite nice to know that the choices that I’m making in my pension mean ethical projects are able to go ahead, and by me investing in this way, the likelihood is that more people will be doing the same, which will increase the pot for ethical investments looking for funding going forward.

Did you invest in conventional funds beforehand?

It’s my own personal pension fund that I’m able to invest now. Prior to that I’ve always been with company pensions where they decide where your money goes so this is the first time that I’ve actually been in control. I wanted to make sure that at least the section of it went into the type of funds that I personally think are nice and worthwhile to the world.

Was there a specific turning point for you in terms of realising what impact your money has?

I think because I work in financial services – I am part of that big bad world – I’ve always known just how companies go about getting funding and how that works. This is the first time where I’ve been in a situation where I personally have money to invest because I’m no longer part of a company pension fund. As soon as I got control of my investments, it was the most obvious thing to do.

I’ve only got a portion going towards ethical investment. I think it’s about 25% of my pension. That’s just kind of dipping my toe in initially to see how it all works as I’ve never had to look at funds or anything like that before. I want to make sure that I know everything about.

Are there any sectors of companies or industries that you would explicitly refuse to invest in? And on the other side, are there any that you would particularly like to invest your money in?

I can’t really say that there is anything that I would specifically not want to invest in. On the ethical side of things, I asked Scott Murray at Virtuo Wealth to find a fund that is actually ethical, rather than one that has good green brownie points.

Ideally what I wanted to invest in were companies that aim to improve poorer areas of the world, and that are huge boosts to communities. My thoughts are more to do with wanting my money to affect someone’s life positively, rather than investing in Tesco because they have green points, for example.

So it’s very much to you about positive invested as opposed to just mitigating the bad?

Yes, definitely. I want to make it possible for these companies to get the funding that they need in the future to make the projects happen. These companies tend to be successful because a lot of the new technologies that they come up with can be used in third world countries, but also in other ways and in other places, too.

What would you say to our readers to encourage or inspire them to invest ethically, responsibly for sustainably?

If you think about the things that you buy on a daily basis, if you buy organic or locally-made products, then you obviously want the world to be a better place, and by investing ethically it encourages companies to make the world a better place.

Blue & Green Tomorrow has interviewed a number of specialist ethical financial advisers in the past, and they’re located all across the country. Have a look here to find the one nearest to you.

Further reading:

Why I chose ethical investment: investing responsibly in my children’s future

Why we chose ethical investment: making money do active good

Poll maps growth of ethical investment understanding and demand

What kind of investor are you?

The Guide to Sustainable Investment (NEIW edition)

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