Those who don’t talk to their clients about responsible investment may be missing a commercial opportunity, says Ryan Medlock
The finance industry has a vast role to play in encouraging the right behaviour from companies. Advisers shouldn't underestimate their part in this and the value of educating clients about responsible investment.
Some do, however. Royal London's Responsible Investment research shows that there are three groups of adviser: a reasonably large segment who expect to see a rise in client demand; a second segment who are hedging their bets; and a third, fairly small segment, who believe demand for responsible investment will be short-lived.
This does mean that a majority are on board with the concept. Yet despite this, only half of advisers reported asking about responsible investment during their client fact-find and only a third raised the subject at client review meetings.
Those advisers that don't speak to their clients about this topic may be missing a commercial opportunity, says Ryan Medlock, Senior Investment Development manager at Royal London. "Customers' attitudes are changing," he says, highlighting that many would prefer their pension to be invested responsibly, if only they knew about the effect it could have.
Taking the first step
For those advice firms that are looking to take the first steps, Medlock believes a good place to start is to discuss the issue internally and formulate a business-wide plan, aligning responsible investment with the firm's core values and beliefs.
He also suggests engaging with clients on some of these themes before embarking on a formal fact-finding process, giving advisers a chance to flesh out some of their motivations and interests at an earlier stage.