7 Oct 2015
Embarking on any new challenge requires a plan, so here is a whistle stop tour of the 5 steps advisers can take to bring ‘sustainable, responsible and ethical investment’ (SRI) into the advice process – as well as a few pointers for further help…
1. Ask clients if they are interested in considering ‘ethical, social, environmental or faith based issues’ as part of their investment decision making.
We all know that lots of people are interested in such things these days - yet the size of the retail ethical & SRI market remains relatively small. This means there is a big opportunity. The first step to success in this area starts with asking all clients (old and new) whether or not they are interested…
2. Explore your client’s areas of interest.
There is no point starting with a blank sheet of paper – the easiest way to use an existing supplementary ethical fact find questionnaire. Both help with your audit trail and compliment your ‘regular’ research.
Two very different examples are:
1. The Synaptic Systems ethical fact find – which is a list of issues that a client can select from – and marries up with their support services.
2. The sriServices ‘sriStyleFinder’ fact find questionnaire. This helps people to identify relevant styles or - types or ethical options that appeal – rather than listing individual ethical issues.
3. Combine ‘ethical fact finding’ information with ‘regular fact finding’ information
There are various ways to do this but to explain what we have recently created… the new Fund EcoMarket v2.0 enables you to identify funds by asset, product, name and SRI Style.
This means you can rapidly create a list of ethically relevant and potentially useful fund options – ie with relevant asset, product and SRI features.
You can then generate a full Fund EcoMarket report to be used alongside your regular research and as part of your audit trail. (Additional information and filters are available but these are optional!)
4. Identify preferred options
Once you have found options with relevant ethical (and ‘regular’) credentials you can start to consider which funds best meet the client’s needs. This may mean honing in on financial aspects or pricing as you would normally – or depending on the client you may like to read up further on the ethical aspects of funds within Fund EcoMarket.
Once you have done this you can create a short list of ‘best fit’ funds or other options. You may also like to check out the service Rayner Spencer Mills Research (RSMR) offer in this area – as they have a unique, segmented ‘Rated SRI fund service’.
5. Discuss your recommendations & agree a review plan
This should be ‘business as usual’ by this stage – but if you feel that you are not quite ready you can read up on this area generally on www.sriServices.co.uk or see ‘ethics related’ fund details on www.FundEcoMarket.co.uk.
Discussing what really matters to people can be a great way to build closer relationships and trust. Many people want both investment returns and to find investments that make sense given their opinions, values and hopes for the future.
We are hoping that with what we and our partners have created this area has at long last become easier than ever for advisers to become involved in - although we still welcome feedback and suggestions!
Events & adviser support:
sriServices involved with three ‘Sustainable, Responsible and Ethical Investment’ events as part of ‘Good Money Week’ (or perhaps it ought to be ‘month’!) 2015:
sriServices Director Julia Dreblow will be ‘launching’ Fund EcoMarket 2.0 at these events and the audience will also a range of fund managers at the events in Leeds and London.
In addition you may like to check out the unique adviser guide recently published in partnership with PanaceaAdviser. The guide brings together the views of 30 leading individuals from this area and sets out ‘why it matters’. The guide can be downloaded here.
The PanaceaAdviser/sriServices guide is designed to compliment a document we have co-written with Rayner Spencer Mills which details the ‘How to...’ aspects of advising on SRI - as outlined above. An updated version of this guide will be available soon.
Fund EcoMarket 2.0 – the adviser friendly SRI database tool and fund hub - is available for free thanks to our supporters: Alliance Trust Investment, Pictet and Rathbones.
For further ideas, events and information check out the Good Money Week site.