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Exclusive Interview: George Critchley, Pennine Wealth Solutions

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George Critchley

George is the founder and Senior Partner of Pennine Wealth Solutions LLP (PWS) having retired from advising in February 2012. Launched in 2011 PWS provides packaged investment solutions that Financial Advisers may recommend to their clients.

PWS is built on five core principles – value, clear communication, choice, control and preservation of capital – all of which offer investors a range of investment solutions that aim to provide both value for money and better communication about what is happening.

What is Pennine Wealth Solutions?

PWS manages 36 investment portfolios, 4 fund managers, a strong track record, including active/passive, + ground-breaking impact options.

What was the driver for creating the Positive Pennine portfolios specifically – what gap does it fill?

Financial Advisers struggle to recommend sustainable investments because regulation has pushed them to focus on due diligence and risk control. Therefore, they utilise various pre researched portfolios or funds. Typically, multi asset and mainstream. Until now there hasn’t been a large enough universe of sustainable options to create a well researched and risk controlled offering.

PWS with their supporting research from 3D Investing have created portfolios that financial advisers will find very easy to recommend. This is a truly ground-breaking development. Great for advisers and great for their investors.

Who is it primarily for?

Positive Pennine is for all those investors, large and small that still require good investment performance, but care enough to want to do their bit to make the world a better place. Financial Advisers and their clients no longer have any excuses!

What difference do the Positive Pennine portfolios want to make?

The investment management industry has the power to change the views of the firms they invest in. If these firms act with improved processes, morals and ethics then bit by bit our planets future will look rosier. PWS believes where they lead, others will start to follow. PWS believes positive investing should be the backbone of all investors portfolios.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

By creating what we have the regulatory, market barriers for Financial Advisers have now been removed. PWS’s challenge is one of adviser awareness. We are a small, North West based DFM. We need to work hard to spread our message.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

Organisations such as Blue Green are vital to us to make the potential investor aware that a modern solution exists. In addition we are working on the Advisory community, to encourage and educate them. Up to now most Financial Advisers have ignored this option because it is too awkward to recommend.

Are financial advisers doing enough to enable people to invest in a positive way?

No. Sustainable and Impact Investing is very niche in the Advisory world. Very few have got involved.

The rules and regulations that Advisers have worked with make sustainable and impact investing options difficult to pursue. In addition, older Advisers have been cynical to the investment performance of the few funds that have existed for a while. The world has now changed. Sustainable Investors no longer have to sacrifice performance. In fact, in the future there are arguments that sustainable options may possibly outperform.

How can people – such as financial advisers and retail investors – find out more about the Positive Pennine portfolios?

Go to the PWS website www.penninewealthsolutions.co.uk. Our brochure and Impact report can be viewed or downloaded, alternatively talk to one of our accredited  Adviser members.

Pennine Wealth Solutions can only be accessed through authorised financial advisory firms. To explore these portfolios in more detail you can contact True Bearing Chartered in the North West or the online and phone adviser Bread & Butter.

 

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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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.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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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.

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