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Newsletter update from SRI Services

 

Following on from a rather busy few months here are some news highlights and links to  recent activity, published this morning in our SRI Services & Fund EcoMarket newsletter (click this link for formatted version or see text and links below.)

 

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SRI Services &  Fund EcoMarket news (and beyond!)

(For UK based Financial Services professionals only)

Hello,

I hope all is well with you! The recent explosion of interest in ESG & SRI has made things pretty busy so please forgive both the length of this email – and any possible omissions!

I will start with the rather important topic of thanking Fund EcoMarket’s sponsors.

Over recent months we have been absolutely delighted to welcome M&G, Kames, Janus Henderson, Foresight and WHEB on board.

Fund EcoMarket users may not be aware that we do not charge fund managers to add fund information to the fund tool – as we want it’s content to be as comprehensive (and ‘whole of market’) as possible.  We also do not approach charities or other similar entities for funding…  so in order for the tool to be free and open to all (and to keep doing things like ‘banging the drum’ in the media and responding to consultations) we rely on fund managers sharing our view that this area, and indeed our fund tool is important.

It is with this in mind that I extend my sincere gratitude to all Fund EcoMarket sponsors – our earlier supporters being Rathbones, Liontrust, Sarasin & Partners, Pictet, Unicorn, Triodos and Quilter Cheviot – without whom we would not have got to where we are today!

I would also like to thank you for reading this update – and for using Fund EcoMarket. We trust you find both useful.  We know the tool is ‘un-parallelled’ in terms of what it offers (and why!?) but continue to value suggestions – even if we can not always act on them immediately.

We also continue to welcome any help you can offer spreading the word about what we do – and if you have not done so already – please do sign up to our  LinkedIn group, joining our Find an Adviser page,  encourage  ‘relevant’ contacts to sign up to this newsletter  – and/or send a short testimonial  if  you are willing!

Either way, I hope you find the following information and links useful…

kind regards,

Julia
julia@sriServices.co.uk 
@JuliaDreblow

About Fund EcoMarket
You will have noticed that Fund EcoMarket has changed a great deal this year. The site is now reformatted and responsive – which makes it mobile friendly. ( It is now running at 6-800 unique users per month, with average user times of 4-5 minutes).

We have also split each of the key filter areas into sub categories – to make our ever expanding research easier to use. This is still being finessed so the paper downloads are not available yet – however you can click ‘print’ at any time!  We of course welcome your feedback on  what we might add as well as what we could improve.

Our hope is that Fund EcoMarket is playing a not insignificant role in encouraging interest in this area by improving intermediaries access to information.  Our aim is essentially to do a lot more of the same through any manageable means (suggestions welcome)!  Su is currently in the process of updating Q3 fund entries and our next round of IT work is starting on 13 December fyi.

Our event videos are on the SRI Services YouTube channel now.  The link below is to the ‘highlights’ video.  Also available are brief fund manager interviews, the DFM panel session, presentations from UKSIF, ZSL, BSI and myself – as well as our  keynote address from Lord Deben (John Gummer).  His Climate Change presentation should be essential viewing for all intermediaries and investors (in my humble…)!

 

 

Following the success of the event and the clear demand for more of the same we will be doing more of this area next year.  Rachel (who you may have met at our event) will be working on this.

She is contactable on  events@sriServices.co.uk .  If you have any requests or suggestions please do let her or me know!

 

Raising the profile of SRI and ESG

Recent activity links that may find of use include:

Writing or contributing to articles eg:

On video:
‘In conversation with’ Professional Adviser editor Julian Marr, Frank Potaczek of Architas and Dennis Hall of Yellowtail advisers.  (A Professional Adviser video series sponsored by Architas):

Presenting/events:

Contributing to report 
‘Recognising the Impact of our investments – A Popular Choice?‘ A white paper from recruitment consultants Acre (with contributions from a range of SRI experts including myself)

Other recommended reading & viewing:

Appointments – UKSIF & TTF

I am delighted to report that I have recently been appointed as a director of not-for-profit industry body UKSIF (again).  I am particularly looking forward to working them on the  upcoming FCA Climate Change and Green Finance discussion paper (and  beyond) and to helping shape their strategy going forward.

I am also happy to continue to be involved with the Transparency Taskforce (as appropriate and when time permits!) and honoured to have been invited to be part of their inaugural Advisory Board.

On the topic of ‘impact’ – which is never far from anyone’s lips in this area at the moment – I can offer a couple of tips…

One is that we must remember that all investments have an impact whether positive or otherwise.  This is why this area is so important!   (A recent FT article stating that major oil companies direct only 1% of their research budgets to clean energy projects highlights the relevance of this.)  As such, I would argue that any fund on our site is far more positive than ‘other funds’ – as a result of their strategies (ie not by chance!).

Another – more practical perhaps –  is that if you wish to find funds that set out to deliver positive impacts you can find them by using the options on the‘Approaches, Application and Features’ filter on Fund EcoMarket.

The filter options we offer highlight the key variations in funds in this area.  Specifically you can filter by; Aims to deliver positive impacts, Measures impacts, Positive environmental impact theme – and/or – Positive social impact theme.

As ever, I’d encourage users to ‘look under the bonnet’.  Strategies vary and different funds suit different clients. If in doubt please do read the text the fund managers have supplied to us!

What next?

As you may be aware, there is a great deal  ‘bubbling under the surface’ in this area at the moment, including new funds, new products and new initiatives.

Amongst the most keenly awaited is the EU’s work on Taxonomies and Labels following  their recent Sustainable Finance Action Plan.  (These are areas Fund EcoMarket has largely focused on since our launch in 2011/2  – and regularly updated as this area is continually evolving and expanding…).

Our work is of course rather different to that of the EU – but complimentary I hope – and I look forward to seeing their final output.   When this arrives we will assess how relevant their work is to ‘UK retail’ and respond accordingly (both on Fund EcoMarket and probably with the BSI and others as appropriate) .

Evolving ‘SRI Styles’
We are continuing our review of Fund Eco Market’s ‘ESG’ & ‘Responsible Ownership‘ ‘SRI Styles’ – focusing on the way we handle company wide listings.  We recently changed our classification from ‘ESG Integration’ to’ ESG Plus’ as ESG integration is now so ubiquitous that it is no longer a clear point of differentiation in its own right.  This shift in effect means that the bar we set back in 2011 is now far too low – which is of course great news!

You can expect to see further changes in this area (and the linked fact find tool) alongside further improvements to the navigability and reporting functions on the site in the near future.

FCA Climate Change and Green Finance discussion Paper
An area I expect to spend a great deal of time on over the coming weeks is the FCA’s Climate Change discussion paper. I am delighted they have published the paper (and are also considering related areas such as fact finding).

I intend to contribute as fully as possible to this and plan to run a discussion session (format tbc)  on this early in the New Year – so please watch this space if this interests you!

With best wishes,

Julia

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