SPECIALIST PARAPLANNER APPOINTMENT SIGNALS STRONGER ETHICAL INVESTMENT PROPOSITION
Client aspirations and growing demand for a more ethical dimension in investment has led leading financial services firm Lovewell Blake Financial Planning to appoint a specialist ethical investment paraplanner to enhance the ‘different dimensions’ in the firm’s financial planning offer.
Sarah Edmunds has joined LBFP following a 20-fold increase in demand over the last decade from clients wanting their money to be invested in funds which are socially responsible or which have a positive impact. With a degree in Environmental Conservation and 13 years’ experience in investments, she brings a unique level of specialist knowledge, together with a passion for all things ethical.
“There has always been a small minority of investors who have wanted to invest ethically, and traditionally there was a perception that investing in this way carried higher risks and lower rewards than mainstream investment options,” said Ms Edmunds.
“What has changed is that ethical investing has itself become mainstream – and with growing consumer pressure for companies to act ethically, the financial performance of those who take the socially responsible route is matching, and in some cases exceeding, those who don’t.
“Investors’ ethical concerns have changed over time, with environmental issues coming to the fore. Factors such as plastics, fossil fuel use, poor employment practices, data misuse and even intensive meat production are now just as likely to be the main drivers of ethical investment decisions as the more traditional issues such as tobacco, arms and alcohol.”
A recent new dimension to ethical investment has been the emergence of ‘positive impact’ investment, which in addition to avoiding investment in companies perceived as socially irresponsible, seeks to proactively invest in areas which have a positive impact.
Lovewell Blake Financial Planning director Robin Carnaby said that the appointment of a specialist ethical investment paraplanner reflected a big increase in investor concern about ethical issues.
“Over the past ten years we have seen a 20-fold increase in demand for socially responsible investments. This has become mainstream – even funds which are not specifically ethical funds are now applying an ethical filter. This is an acknowledgement both of investor pressure and also the fact that ethical investments are now performing as well as, and in many cases better than, those which don’t have an ethical dimension.
“We realised we needed a different dimension and a deeper understanding within the team, and so have created this ethical paraplanner role. We are delighted that Sarah has joined the team, as she has a wide industry knowledge, as well as having a personal interest in the ethical issues inherent in the investments. She is therefore able to offer our clients like-minded options when it comes to investing.”