Industry Honesty charity dinner co-founder Lee Robertson tells Professional Adviser why corporate responsibility is integral to financial services despite the regulatory crackdown on inducements.
The Industry Honesty charity dinner was set up by Investment Quorum chief executive Robertson and financial services distribution consultant Alan Easter in 2013, since when it has raised more than £60,000 for good causes.
This year's dinner raised money on behalf of Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) - with the £18,000 it collected equating to 85 Ugandan children now being able to receive a full-time secondary education.
For Robertson (pictured), who has worked as a wealth manager for more than 25 years - and was once a guest editor on Professional Adviser - corporate responsibility should be an integral part of the financial services sector.
"We're not just advisers, asset managers, financial journalists and so on - we're part of an ecosystem that genuinely seeks to look after the sector's clients," he explained. "This is not just through the medium of finance but also through community events, such as this dinner, which allow us to put a little back."
In recent years, the financial services industry has experienced a crackdown from the regulator on inducements that may be passing between providers and advisers.
Robertson said: "Our profession is under a lot of scrutiny at the moment and a fair bit of criticism, some of it justified, some not. In this post-inducement paper world, however, it's great to see the industry still coming together in support of a cause."
The Industry Honesty dinner sets out to support others in the financial services community who have themselves been raising funds for a particular cause.
"We only organise the event if we are certain it is part of a wider project of capital raising and that the person concerned is totally committed to the cause," said Robertson. "In this regard, the cause itself is almost secondary.
"It is this unique aspect that we believe makes the event special, together with the fact that it is about 'honesty' and no one checks who or who has not donated. We will leave that to the attendees own self."
He explained this year's choice, PEAS, was a charity close to the heart of long-established client and friend, journalist Sharon Ring, who recently lost her husband, former Mirror managing editor Phil Walker.
Previous dinners have been organised to support Mail on Sunday journalist Jeff Prestridge and his efforts for the The Brathay Trust, and to help CWC Research managing director and UK Platform Awards organiser Clive Waller reach his target for Cancer Research in memory of his late wife Monica.
Attendees this year included representatives from Aberdeen, Blackrock, Citywire, Chelsea Financial Services, Hargreaves Lansdown, Incisive Media, Investec, JP Morgan Asset Management, Liontrust, Prudential, Schroders, Square Mile and Standard Life Investments.
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