IFAs on Good Money Week

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Good Money Week is well underway, with events being held across the country to promote and celebrate sustainable and ethical finance opportunities. The annual awareness-raising event is truly for everyone – not just traditional investors and finance professionals but for all customers and users of financial products.  

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But to mark Good Money Week, we asked specialist Independent Financial Advisers – a select bunch that has forgotten more about sustainable and ethical investment than most of us will ever know – what they think of the campaign’s new look and which event has them the most excited this year. 

John Ditchfield, director and advisor at Barchester Green, co-chair of Ethical Investment Association (EIA) and board member of UKSIF

B&GT: What do you think of the rebranding of Good Money Week?

JD: We think this is a positive step because it allows us to broaden the discussion, and cover areas such as banking and new aspects of finance.

B&GT: Are there any events or aspects of this year’s campaign that you are particularly excited about? 

JD: We’re particularly excited about our event [a responsible investment Q&A webinar, attended by Guardian columnist Zoe Williams]. Historically National Ethical Investment Week events have struggled to attract a range of private investors. We think by running it as a webinar and bringing in some high profile participants we can broaden the appeal. 

B&GT: If people were to learn one thing from Good Money Week, what would you like it to be? 

JD: We think this year’s message should be one of empowerment, telling people that they can make proactive choices about how they utilise their money and have an impact on the overall economic system.

Tanya Pein, investment specialist for charities and private clients at In2 Consulting and co-chair of EIA

B&GT: What do you think of the rebranding of Good Money Week?

TP: It’s a bold decision, with an attractive new visual identity – and could open the way to broader appeal, right across society. 

B&GT: Are there any events or aspects of this year’s campaign that you are particularly excited about?

TP:  Yes, this new move from “Ethical Investment” to “Good Money” could mean that the millions of people with workplace pensions feel that the week applies to them too – and it does!

B&GT: If people were to learn one thing from Good Money Week, what would you like it to be?

TP: I hope that people start to say, “I didn’t realise that responsible investment was so huge, and now I’m joining all those other investors who are focusing on sustainability.” Here’s hoping for mass realisation of the power that millions of investors and pension members have to do good. 

Helen Tandy, director and financial adviser at Gaeia

B&GT: What do you think of the rebranding of Good Money Week?

HT: I think the old NEIW was a much longer name with an acronym which was useful, but wasn’t explanatory as to what it stood for. I also think the term ethical doesn’t sit with people today, clients think of themselves as supporting environmental and social investments rather than just ethical, so it become a restriction. Good Money Week is self-explanatory, it encompasses both investing and cash savings which I feel is also a very important change.

B&GT: Are there any events or aspects of this year’s campaign that you are particularly excited about? 

HT:We have historically arranged events during the week, usually in London and Manchester, focused at savers and investors. Our business has been involved in the purchase of Barchester Green in recent months, so we decided to take more of a back seat just for this year. 

B&GT: If people were to learn one thing from Good Money Week, what would you like it to be? 

HT: I hope more financial advisers engage with the week to find out more about ethical investing. We know from our experience that lot of the UK are interested in investing in a way that their money reflects their person values. Many financial advisers feel that they don’t have the experience and often put clients off.

Richard Essex, financial advisor at Grayside and author of the 2014 book, Invest, Feel Good and Make a Difference

B&GT: What do you think of the rebranding of Good Money Week?

RE: I quite like it. It’s a departure from the ethical tag, which I think has to be done because for me ‘ethical’ limits the scope of what I think the sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) industry should be doing.

B&GT: Are there any events or aspects of this year’s campaign that you are particularly excited about?

RE: I am speaking at an event in the Isle of Man hosted by a product provider, who has just launched a SRI product. This is exciting because I get a chance to speak in front of a professional audience who want to know more about why SRI makes financial sense. 

I am also attending an event the following night, when I will be promoting my book Invest Feelgood and Make a Difference. 

B&GT: If people were to learn one thing from Good Money Week, what would you like it to be? 

RE: I hope that people really start to see a link between social and environmental sustainability and financial sustainability, in layman’s terms –a healthier return.

Julian Parrott, partner at Ethical Futures  

B&GT: What do you think of the rebranding of Good Money Week?

JP: I’m okay with it and understand the rationale. It’s snappier and better from a marketing perspective. The name is also more inclusive, in that it engages with all forms of finance, like banking, rather than purely investment. It also places the positive message about managing your money for good rather than just avoiding ‘nasty’ things.

That said I’m a bit worried about dilution of the message because I understand that some companies had problems with the ‘ethical’ world and I feel that ‘responsible’ and ‘good’ have much more room for fudging the issues.

B&GT: Are there any events or aspects of this year’s campaign that you are particularly excited about?

JP: I was pleased to be involved in the Church of Scotland’s event in Glasgow in the run up to Good Money Week. Whilst individual investors have made personal faith based decisions about their money, it’s not often that we see a church clearly championing the cause.

Likewise, the forthcoming IFC Ethical Round Table in Edinburgh is fairly unique in that it brings together representatives from all aspects of ethical, responsible, third sector and faith based groups to discuss new developments in the ethical investment field.

B&GT: If people were to learn one thing from Good Money Week, what would you like it to be? 

JP: I don’t expect sudden changes – just incremental growth of awareness. I suppose that I would like people to realise that they can take some ownership of their money and how it’s invested. It can be incredibly liberating and engaging to know that your money can actually make a change in the world that we live in.

Scott Murray, managing director of Virtuo Wealth Management

B&GT: What do you think of the rebranding of Good Money Week?

SM: I reckon this new brand is easier to understand and engage with for people outside of the financial market and financial services. Without losing the sustainable and ethical integrity, you can bring professionals, clients, business and charities into this campaign, which I believe will be a big success.

B&GT: Are there any events or aspects of this year’s campaign that you are particularly excited about?

SM: I will be attending the roundtable event hosted by the Islamic Finance Council UK and Tods Murray LLP, which will focus on setting up the first ethical finance hub in Europe, which will be based in Scotland. The purpose of the hub will be to encourage debate, influence and change within the sector.

B&GT: If people were to learn one thing from Good Money Week, what would you like it to be? 

SM: Glasgow University recently became the first European university to divest from fossil fuels. Hopefully this hugely encouraging step will persuade other institutions such as universities, local government and charities to review their investment policies and take Glasgow’s lead by disinvesting from fossil fuels. 

I believe the new rebranding will help to have a more successful campaign than past ones, encouraging everyone to consider green and responsible investment and finance options.

Photo: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

Further reading:

Good Money Week: ‘Finance affects everybody’

Introducing… Good Money Week

Good Money Week: Barchester Green names top five ethical funds

Eurosif: European sustainable investment market outperforming the mainstream

Financial services report recovery as sustainable investment message spreads