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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

One-third of investors deem social impact just as important as returns

British investors are becoming increasingly worried about their ethical, social and environmental impact, with 36% regarding this just as important as financial returns.

Investors looking for social change ©iStock
Investors looking for social change ©iStock

That is according to new research from private equity firm IW Capital, which reveals more than 12 million people would turn away from an investment decision based on ethical concerns.

“The UK investment population now navigates a landscape of opportunities and social factors that enable a far greater sense of responsibility than that of a decade ago,” IW Capital CEO, Luke Davis, said.

“An increase in the level of education and awareness available, not to mention opportunities that were traditionally reserved for larger institutions, has meant investment decisions no longer sit in isolation from our personal lives.”

The research involved a survey of 2,004 investors, cross-referenced across investable asset size, gender, age and location.

It was found that healthcare technology and energy tech are the two most popular sectors for this year, with half the respondents saying they wanted to invest in these funds in 2018.

A significant interest in financial technology was also recorded, with 47% of 18-24 year-olds saying they would invest in FinTech this year, compared with 39% of people aged 35-54 and 34% of over-55s.

The survey findings also show that 65% of Londoners are looking to make more environmental investments, and that they are twice as likely to prefer investing in SMEs, rather than stocks and shares, than people from other regions.

This is particularly true among 18-24 year-olds, with a fifth more from this age bracket looking to invest in SMEs to deliver social change in 2018 – an actively conscious investment choice.

In addition, it was found that 20% of UK investors are now considering knowledge-intensive companies as an investment option due to the chancellor’s doubling of the EIS cap.

“The results are both encouraging and a definite call to action for industry partners across the nation to acknowledge what is a significant shift in investor sentiment,” Davis concluded.

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