With just over six weeks until this year’s National Ethical Investment Week (October 13-19), we’ll be catching up with a different financial adviser that specialises in ethical investment in the run-up to the event.
So far in this series, we’ve featured Ethical Futures (Edinburgh), Green Financial Advice (London), the Ethical Partnership (the south, Midlands and Yorkshire) and Gaeia (Greater Manchester).
Next up is Smythe & Walter Chartered Financial Planners. Its managing director, Lee Smythe, answers our questions.
What are you hoping for at this year’s National Ethical Investment Week?
People are becoming increasingly aware of the social and environmental impact of their choices and are actively seeking solutions in many areas of their lives where their footprint can be reduced, such as purchasing hybrid or electric cars or buying fairtade products, for example.
For investments however, I still think that there is overall poor awareness of the availability of solutions which would be more in tune with peoples’ other life choices and I hope that this year’s National Ethical Investment Week continues to enlighten people as to the alternatives they could consider.
What did you get out of National Ethical Investment Week last year?
Last year’s National Ethical Investment Week was a good opportunity to reach out to clients to speak to them about something which would potentially be new to them and to gauge their appetite for taking more account of their general life views with their investment holdings.
Whilst there were no sudden conversions to a more ethical/environmentally-friendly approach, the general feedback was that it would be something to consider as and when additions or changes to portfolios were required.
How has ethical/responsible/sustainable/green investment changed in the past 12 months? What trends have you noticed?
I wouldn’t say that too much has changed. It still remains a relatively small portion of the investment universe, although it has been evident as global investment markets have risen over the last year or two that, often contrary to popular belief, ethical/socially responsible funds have not been left behind.
Tell us something interesting about you or your firm that investors/clients might not already know.
As well as being a firm of chartered financial planners, I am also a “chartered champion” for the Kent area. This role is a voluntary one for the Personal Finance Society and the purpose is to help highlight to consumers, businesses and other professionals the benefits of working with a chartered financial planner to help realise your goals.
Why should an investor seek ethical/sustainable/responsible financial advice from you?
Our focus on understanding a client’s true attitude to risk and their longer term objectives, coupled with the use of sophisticated risk analysis and investment research tools enables us to create a portfolio which not only satisfies a client’s objective to invest in an ethical/sustainable manner, but also ensures that they understand the risks and that these too are aligned with their objectives.
As our service is all about long-term relationships with our clients, the ongoing monitoring and advice which we provide then ensures everything remains on the right track.