Investing with responsibility - a wake-up call

Spotlight

Can we protect and enhance the value of clients’ investments, while contributing to a sustainable world?

20 October 2016

Investing with responsibility - a wake-up call

For many of us, making the right financial decisions probably features quite high on our list of priorities. For others, the state of the planet and the kind of world we are handing down to the next generation, may be of concern. Climate change, poverty, access to clean water, education and human rights, are all pressing global issues that might be playing on our minds.

Today, more than ever before, it is possible to address these issues through the types of investments we make. Previously, this type of investment ethos was largely restricted to a small number of ethical funds, and there was the perception that you might need to sacrifice the potential for decent investment performance in order to reflect your values. But now, ethical funds are just one part of a rapidly growing ‘good money’ sector that includes impact investing, green funds and responsible investing.

Memories of the global financial crisis, and the more recent VW emissions and BHS pension scandals, have highlighted the importance of good corporate governance and reinforced the business case for investing in companies that take their responsibilities seriously.

At Standard Life Investments, we have long understood the intrinsic connection between financial performance and how the companies in which we invest approach issues such as their impact on the environment and their contribution to society. To us, understanding how a company takes care of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has always made good business sense. We often find that companies that are well governed in these areas tend to perform better than those that are not, and thus provide better returns to shareholders. That’s why we are committed to raising investors’ awareness of these important issues and leading the conversation on ESG.

We are committed to protecting and enhancing the value of our clients’ investments while contributing to a sustainable world, and the principles of responsible investing are embedded across everything we do. We have a dedicated and highly-experienced ESG Investment team that actively engages with the companies in which we invest and that carries out in-depth research and analysis on the material ESG issues affecting our clients’ investments. Leading by example, our aim is to promote best practice across the corporate sector and hold companies accountable for their actions.

It is important to us that investors know their options, understand how they can reflect their beliefs and values in their investment choices, and that they don’t sleepwalk into their investments. There are more options than ever for investors to take control of where they invest their money and use it to promote positive change. The first step is choosing an asset manager that takes its responsibilities as an investor seriously, and can demonstrate the value it can add, financially and socially.

Knowing that your money is being invested wisely and conscientiously should, hopefully, help put your mind at rest.

Standard Life Investments is lead sponsor of the UK's Good Money Week 2016. Find out more at www.standardlifeinvestments/goodmoneyweek