Many of us are now making more responsible choices as consumers. Accordingly, we are increasingly interested in generating a positive impact with our savings and investments. Holden & Partners has been pioneering this approach since its inception in 2003 and can confirm that investing in this way continues to gain momentum. However, the financial industry tends to involve a lot of jargon, so it is useful to break down some of the common terms before deciding which approach may suit you best:

Ethical Investment: Ethical investing is a term used to describe the practice of applying screening criteria to companies to decide whether they should be included within a portfolio. There are two main types of screening that are commonly used: negative and positive.

Positive Screening: An approach that helps select investments that set positive examples of environmental and socially responsible business practices. For example, positive screening may involve exposure to the renewable energy or recycling industries. Conversely, negative screening will exclude companies that do not comply with certain social or environmental criteria; companies that are involved in the production of arms, tobacco, gambling, alcohol or animal testing, for example.

Sustainable Investment: Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of future generations. At Holden & Partners, we interpret this as identifying investments which are providing solutions to sustainability challenges, and therefore have the capacity to prosper in a competitive and changing global environment. Sustainable investing includes investing for a better climate, in sustainable goods and services, and to further technological and medical advancements.

Thematic Investment: Identifying global trends and themes that are likely to influence financial markets and the way we live our lives, whether they are driven by economics, politics, cultural or demographics changes, or a combination of all factors. It then targets companies which are well-positioned to capitalise on these structural themes.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria: A way of analysing companies according to how well they follow corporate governance rules and benefit the environment and society. ESG analysis now plays a large role in traditional fund management in managing risk and decision making.

Socially Responsible Investment (SRI): Socially responsible investment is an all-encompassing term which describes a range of investment approaches focusing on companies that consider social and environmental challenges. As shareholders in a business, the fund managers have the right to vote and voice their opinion on how an organisation is run. The onus is on changing and improving matters from within a company rather than excluding companies altogether.

Impact Investing: Investing in a way that delivers a positive social and/or environmental impact as well as a financial return. Companies and funds will report on the social and environmental impact delivered.

Social Investment: An investment into voluntary and community organisations, charities, or social enterprises where a return on ‘impact’ (social, economic or environmental change) is hoped for/expected alongside financial returns.

Green Investments – a generic term used to describe investments which focus on environmental issues.

Greenwashing: In some instances, companies can be guilty of ‘greenwashing’. This occurs when a company’s PR and marketing teams put a misleading spin on their products or services giving the impression that they are environmentally friendly when this may not be the case.

At Holden & Partners we use our own terminology:

Ethical Sustainable & Thematic (EST) Investment – Our unique approach to investment. The concept is simple: investing in a way that acknowledges future threats and opportunities in society and considering a wide range of issues to assess potential returns. This may be achieved through the purchase of ethical funds, which screen out areas of the market engaged in controversial industries or those exposed to a particular sector-wide risk; sustainable funds, which focus on the ability of companies to ensure the longevity of their products, processes and business models; thematic funds, which identify global macroeconomic themes and seek out opportunities which are best-placed to capitalise upon them.

Unfortunately, we think the jargon is here to stay, but we hope that Holden & Partners can continue to help you understand some of the more specialist terms. We have extensive knowledge in ethical, sustainable, and thematic investment which has been developed over fifteen years since our inception. As always, if you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

The content of this article is for your general information and use only and is not intended to address your particular requirements. It should not be relied upon in its entirety and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, advice.

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.


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

Read all our testimonials

Contact us

Whether it’s a question about your personal finances or how you can invest your wealth more ethically, we are here to help. Call us on 020 7812 1460, email or complete the form: