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Exclusive Interview: John Spiers, CEO of EQ Investors (EQ)

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John Spiers

John is the CEO of EQ Investors (EQ). After gaining an MA in Engineering at Clare College, Cambridge he went into the City as a research analyst for 10 years. In 1986 he set up Bestinvest and over the next 20 years it grew to become a leading private client advisory and wealth management business with over 50,000 clients. In 2007 Bestinvest was acquired by 3i.

Since then John has built up a portfolio of other interests, including the establishment of a Foundation to support various charities. He has taken a particular interest in projects aimed to increase the use of Early Intervention to reduce child abuse. He has also retained a close interest in investment, being a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and a member of the Investment Committee for Clare College.

John enjoys competitive sport and participates in historic motorsport and international croquet.

In 140 characters or less – what is EQ Investors?

EQ Investors (EQ) is an award-winning boutique wealth manager acting for private clients, small companies and charities all around the UK.

What was the driver for creating EQ Investors – what gap did it fill?

I’ve been in the wealth management business for over 40 years and a professional investor all my working life. I enjoy the different ways you can interact with your clients and provide good services to them.

I am also increasingly concerned that within the industry a large number of shareholders are focused on maximising short-term growth at the expense of client’s best interests. EQ is wholly owned by our staff, which means we can take long term decisions unhindered by any requirement to meet financial targets.

EQ with its ethical bias has a unique proposition which combined with our commitment to client service can offer something genuinely different.

Who does it primarily serve?

Following significant investment over the last eighteen months, we now offer a service for 90% of the savers and investors out there.

Our main role is to make our clients investments work as hard as possible and support that with advice that helps them achieve their objectives.

What difference does EQ Investors want to make?

At EQ we have a strong sense of being a member of a wider community. We are proud to be one of the first UK companies to be awarded B Corporation status, for companies that believe in business as a force for good. We operate a Matched Giving programme to help our clients and staff raise extra funds for their favourite causes and we have set up the EQ Foundation as a registered charity.

Our Positive Impact Portfolios are a unique proposition for clients who care about how and where their money is invested.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

In terms of the industry as whole, undoubtedly regulation. At a time when the FCA has made financial advice only available to the very well-off, people are in need of guidance more than ever. A year after the pension freedoms came into effect, more work is needed on providing cost-effective advice. A 30-minute consultation is definitely not enough. These are complex decisions that shape an individual’s retirement.

In terms of impact investing, historically it was thought this had an adverse impact on performance. However, recent research from Cambridge Associates suggests the complete opposite.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

As you would expect, technology has a key role to play in delivering low cost investment management and advice.  I’ve never only wanted to offer a service that is of interest to rich people. That’s why we wanted to launch our Simply EQ telephone-based service. In doing so, we’ve also been able to offer our positive impact portfolio to a wider market.

Strategic question? Tell us about the EQ Foundation

The EQ Foundation is the grant-making charitable arm of EQ Investors. We make a small number of multi-year grants to organisations which focus on achieving positive social, economic and environmental outcomes and that aim to deliver long lasting benefits.

Going forward, we are also interested in impact investment opportunities in social enterprises.

How can people – individuals and organisations – find out more about EQ Investors?

Visit our website: http://eqinvestors.co.uk/, follow us on Twitter: @eqinvestors or give us a call – 020 7488 7171.

What are you feelings on SITR and the opportunities it presents?

Social impact investing has the potential to make real change in our society, yet we are still awaiting approval from the EU (eighteen months and counting) to increase the limit that can be raised per organisation from about £250,000 to £5 million. This is essential to get the market moving and I hope the go ahead is received soon.

We intend to be active in this market, both in terms of helping clients to identify attractive proposals and making investments ourselves on behalf of the EQ Foundation.

 

 

Features

What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Features

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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