In our weekly update, we explore the importance of ethical and sustainable investment.

As the new norm for all of us sets in, it is hard not to gaze out of the window and dream of ‘the good times’. These good times were just a few weeks ago, yet it shows you just how much things have changed in such a short period.

The news of the death toll this week, and particularly yesterday1, was deeply saddening yet numbingly unsurprising, with many of the warnings given in the daily briefings predicting that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. No amount of mental preparation can ready you for the sheer scale of what is happening.

Global stock markets spent the week moving higher, then lower, and vice versa as they try and decipher the impact of numerous variables. NHS Nightingale – a 4,000-bed, 80 ward ‘pop-up’ hospital2 in the Excel centre – has gone from idea to near completion in almost 10 days. Economic figures, as well as predictions of how the recovery may take shape, have gone into overdrive. The truth is no one really knows. It is possible to model and hypothesise but as we keep reiterating, this is not the time to be making hasty decisions, it is the time to be calm and measured.

For many, this is the second or third week of isolation; changing and updating how we live our lives is now another item on the daily to-do list. Lessons are now taking place at the dining table, trips to the pub over video conference and the front room is now the local gym. In these crazy times, it is important to realise just how remarkable human beings are at adapting and changing when necessary. The only real constant in all of our lives at the moment is that of uncertainty and flux, and this is likely to be the case for some time.

There is a palpable sense of community and togetherness despite being more physically apart than ever. The collective social contract of staying at home to protect others is, so far, seeming to hold. Yet it is this community spirit and desire for better that is driving people to think how they live their lives; how they consume, what they consume and what impact they have on those around them, not to mention making a mental note of those businesses that are not holding up their end of the bargain. For many, changing the way that we live our lives in order to be more sustainable is no new thing. For others, the current situation is providing a stimulus and accelerating the process.

At Holden & Partners, this way of thinking has been at the foundations of our business from the very beginning, with ethical and sustainable business practices and investment service at the heart of what we do.

Sustainable investing or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) as it is known in the industry, has come of age. Once viewed as a fringe player in the investment world, the benefits of avoiding once profitable but socially and environmentally detrimental industries (such as tobacco and oil) are now very clear.

Research from several outlets, including Morningstar3, has shown that ESG funds have weathered the storm better than their non-ESG counterparts. Funds that track major global indices have outperformed across the board globally. This is down to the positioning of the funds; at present many of the ESG funds invest heavily in technology and health-care stocks with typically no holdings in fossil fuel companies. With people flocking to tech to fill the role of social in-person gatherings and the huge drop off in the use of fossil fuels with no one flying or driving4, it isn’t hard to see why these funds are outperforming.

Surveys have indicated that millennials5 are one of the driving forces behind investing for better, and $30 trillion of the world’s assets are now in ESG funds. In 2019, money that was moved into sustainable funds quadrupled to $20.6 billion compared to the previous year6. Of course, much of this growth was during the boom of the most recent bull market, where prices have risen, and many of these ESG funds have never faced a downturn like the one we are seeing currently. Nevertheless, the early signs are promising.

Advocates of ESG such as ourselves have long argued that screening for environmental sustainability, social responsibility and good corporate governance leads to investing in more stable businesses that have the potential to provide better returns in the long run.

The only true constant we face is change, and we at Holden & Partners want to be part of the change for the better.

As always we are here if you want to discuss anything with us.


Content of the articles featured in this publication is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. They should not be relied upon in their entirety and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, advice. Although endeavours have been made to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No individual or company should act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of their particular situation. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of any articles. Thresholds, percentage rates and tax legislation may change in subsequent finance acts.


1 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/02/uk-deadliest-coronavirus-day-569-deaths

2 https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-nhs-nightingale-becomes-worlds-largest-critical-care-unit-11967757

3 https://www.morningstar.com/articles/972475/sustainable-equity-funds-are-outperforming-in-bear-market

4 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/we-analysed-electricity-demand-and-found-coronavirus-has-turned-weekdays-into-weekends

5 https://www.msci.com/documents/10199/07e7a7d3-59c3-4d0b-b0b5-029e8fd3974b

6 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/14/esg-funds-see-record-inflows-in-2019.html

 

My wife and I really value the advice and support we’ve received over many years. Our key contact is Tim Cosway, whose friendly and calm manner is a real plus. He also involves team members who are equally committed. We particularly value that their approach is that no question is stupid – we always receive a clear and helpful explanation. We have full confidence in the team’s management of our finances and definitely recommend them.

Howard

We have consulted Holden and Partners for 10 years.  Having been in financial disarray because of poor advice from our previous financial advisor, we have Tim Cosway to thank for digging us out of a deep financial hole.  As a result of his painstaking tenacity pursuing a claim against our former financial advisor through the Financial Ombudsman Service, which resulted in substantial compensation, we can anticipate a comfortable retirement.  We continue to take Tim’s advice on all financial matters.  He is a pleasure to deal with, and we whole heartedly recommend Holden and Partners, and Tim in particular.

Mike & Jacque

I have been a customer of Holden & Partners since its inception. During this time, no matter what the state of the financial climate, I have always found that their advice has been balanced and fair. They have a good understanding of everyone’s individual circumstances and produced tailored strategies to match these needs and expectations.

Duncan B, NHS consultant

I’ve always received high quality, personable advice at a time of my convenience. My adviser has often travelled to my home in order to provide very personal service. The advice given is clear and unambiguous. The risks of different types of investment have been clearly discussed to allow me to make an appropriate decision on the nature of my investment portfolio. This has been of great importance when considering the available investment options for my forthcoming retirement. I have always considered that Holden & Partners is very client centred and they have my best interests at heart. I have been with Holden & Partners since 1996 and have recommended them to friends and colleagues on many occasions.

Michael, Surgeon

Holden & Partners manage our company pension scheme with a totally professional and dedicated approach. They have worked with us over a number of years, and are able to explain the potential ‘minefield’ that is pensions, to make it perfectly accessible for the staff.

Jeremy, Print Management Partner

On retirement after 40 years of salaried employment, I interviewed several financial advisers, amongst whom Mark Dodd of Holden & Partners was the nicest and seemingly the most understanding of my investment needs and priorities. Since then my wife and I have had regular (c.6-monthly) meetings with him in order to check and, when necessary, adjust the holdings in our portfolio. This has been very helpful and provided a comforting sense of confidence and security. I have recommended Holden & Partners to others and will certainly continue to do so.

Patrick, retired university professor

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of global trends such as climate change and environmental destruction. But I feel I regain power as a consumer and a citizen by thinking about where I spend my money and to whom I entrust my savings. I chose Holden and Partners because they were recommended to me and because of their strong track record in ethical investments. It has proven to be a wise choice. Their advisors listened carefully to my needs and created an investment strategy and portfolio that has met and indeed continues to exceed my expectations. The culture of a company also matters to me, I have found their advisors to be well informed and financially shrewd but also easy to speak to and engage with. Many of us find it difficult to trust institutions and organisations these days, but I do trust Holden and Partners to make the right decisions on my behalf.
I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.

Patrick, Advertising and Marketing Consultant

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