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Three-quarters of IFAs get requests for ethical investment options



Seventy-three per cent of independent financial advisers (IFAs) get requests for ethical investment options from clients, according to a Blue & Green Tomorrow survey of the industry.

Just over half (51%) say they got the same amount of such requests in 2012 as they did in 2011, with 10% getting more and 13% getting less.

The statistics derive from a survey that B&GT conducts each year into the state of financial advice. Few people feel confident to invest without advice and our research assesses whether advisers are receiving more enquiries and their views on changes in regulation.

The vast majority of IFAs (73%) say they get requests for ethical investment options, although these advisers also report that it is a minority of their total clients (1 in 9) who ask about it. The average allocation to ethical funds of those clients who ask about ethical investment is two-fifths.

Richard Essex, an IFA at Grayside Financial Services and member of the Ethical Investment Association (EIA) said, “The IFA industry as a whole is not encouraging clients to explore the possibility of SRI investing.

This is partly down to lack of education by IFAs themselves. There is a huge education gap. 

The investing public have a yearning to do some good with their money but they’re just not being given the tools to do so.”

According to the survey, ethical investors are most keen to avoid funds investing in the arms trade, tobacco, human rights abuses, the exploitation of animals for cosmetics and pornography or violent material. Meanwhile, the majority are keen to invest in renewable energy, fair trade, non-energy cleantech, recycling and sustainable agriculture and fishing.

Friends Provident, Aberdeen, Jupiter, Ecclesiastical and Aviva are the top five providers amongst all IFAs who receive requests about ethical investment, but amongst members of the EIA, the top five reads Ecclesiastical, Kames (formerly Aegon), Jupiter, F&C and Aberdeen.

Ecclesiastical recently received the Moneyfacts Award for Best Ethical Investment Provider 2012. This is the fourth consecutive year it has won this award, which is voted for by the IFA community.

Ecclesiastical’s Amity UK Fund was voted Best Ethical Fund at the Investment Week Climate Change and Ethical Investment Awards 2012 – an achievement that marked its 25th anniversary.

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:

Clients’ interests will be harmed by RDR, say financial advisers

Ethical and sustainable: what’s the difference?

Sustainable investment flourishes amongst European high net-worth individuals

Poll maps growth of ethical investment understanding and demand

The Guide to Sustainable Investment 2012 (NEIW edition)

Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.