The Tale of the Ethical Investor

I want my money to be invested ethically.

The raised voice from the opposite side of the table brought me to life. “I don’t want my money to be used to help prop up some Animal Testing Establishment. It’s abhorrent.”

“It’s a fact of life and you can’t walk away from it.”  Fiona’s husband, Mike, was just as steadfast in his view of the Animal Testing world.

I decided this was probably not the right time to put any of my views forward.  Let’s just wait and see how this goes, I thought to myself.

“And I suppose you think funding Human Rights abuse in Far East sweat shops is acceptable too,” Fiona continued defiantly, and glared at me across the table.  I sat immobile, not saying a word.

“But that’s what they are used to,”  Mike retorted. “And they get paid commensurate with their standard of living.”

“What about Environmental Damage? Does that mean nothing to you,” Fiona glowered.

“Well, yes, of course it does,” said Mike, appreciating that he was possibly on the losing side of the battle, whilst realising that Fiona had the upper hand and, when he thought about it, she was firmly in control of the purse strings.

It was, after all, her money that they were about to invest, she being the recipient of a sizeable and generous redundancy cheque from her former employer.

“Yes, yes, of course it does,” he repeated as if to emphasise his acquiescence.

“And the Animal Testing and the Human Rights abuse?”

“Yes, come to think of it, you may have a point”.  Mike backtracked.  “What’s your view, Arthur”.  He turned to me, obviously looking for support.  Thanks Mike, I thought.

The middle course, but on a somewhat closer path to the one taken by Fiona, seemed to me to be the optimum choice.

“I agree with Fiona, in many ways,” I said. “And it’s not just those three injustices that are part of the Ethical and Socially Responsible Investment strategies.  We can take into account other areas of concern such as Armaments, Pornography, Tobacco, and Gambling, not to mention Alcohol and Nuclear Power, although admittedly the latter two do not raise people’s hackles quite as much as some of the others.” I quickly glanced at Fiona and was glad to see she was nodding her head in agreement.

“You have a number of options,” I said. “You can either Positively Invest in Companies that 1) manage change for the better in their sector or 2) that seek to reduce the detrimental effects of our modern day lifestyle.

“On the other hand, you can Negatively screen out any Companies whose income comes from the areas of concern we have been talking about.

“Thirdly, as a compromise you can Blend the two strategies together and have a mixture of both Positive and Negative strategies.”

“What about risk?” asked Fiona, “and what about investment returns?”  Fiona was a very astute lady.

“Excellent points,” I concurred. “First of all we will ascertain how much risk you are prepared to take by a simple tick box questionnaire which will be followed by a detailed conversation as to whether the level of risk indicated is commensurate with you stated opinions.

“And as far as investment returns go, we have a number of clients who having gone down the Ethical path, are delighted with the performance of their funds.

“And lastly I think you will be not displeased with the charges.”

Mike interjected, “Thank you, Arthur. That’s first class. Over to you, Fiona.  I’m happy to go along with whatever you decide.”

Nicely sidestepped, Mike, I thought…

How can we help?

 We find more and more clients are looking for ethical investment and we can do this for you as one of our investment partners specialises in this area. By establishing your ethical views and the level of financial risk you are prepared to take, we can build a bespoke ethical portfolio to suit your requirements.

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