Finance professionals from Yorkshire were told that sustainable investment strategies can out-perform conventional portfolios and will be a growing feature of the investment landscape in years to come.
One of the UK’s leading experts on sustainable and ethical investing, Claudia Quiroz, told an audience of independent financial advisers at the University of Leeds that a storm of circumstances had come together to create a global “new economy” which was turbo-charging the sustainable investment industry.
Ms Quiroz, who oversees some £50m of sustainably invested funds in the UK, told the gathering at the university’s Devonshire Hall that the interaction of three macro-economic factors – population growth, resource scarcity and climate change – were driving the need for a cleaner and more efficient economy and creating new investment opportunities at the same time.
Some 30 independent financial advisers met at the university to attend a “Sustainable Investment Bootcamp” organised by green and ethical issue analysts Blue & Green.
Ms Quiroz said:
“We are seeing rising interest in sustainable investment as institutions and individuals increasingly realise that financing those companies that provide the products, services and technologies to deliver a cleaner and more efficient economy can deliver a strong investment performance.
“Such investment used to be largely driven by negative factors such as avoiding weapons manufacturers, for instance, but is now much more positive because there are companies operating in sustainable business spheres which offer attractive opportunities for good financial returns.
“This means we can focus on companies offering solutions to the global and emerging challenges of reducing carbon emissions, improving the food supply-and-demand imbalance and reducing water shortages, to name but a few.
“There has been a misconception that the performance of sustainable investment funds would routinely be worse than unconstrained mainstream funds but our own record suggests such a performance penalty does not exist.
“The Quilter Cheviot Climate Assets Fund has returned +39.90 per cent from launch in March 2010 to March 2014.
“This compares with the IMA Mixed Investment 40 per cent – 85 per cent Shares Sector delivering +32.47 per cent over the same period.”
Quilter Cheviot focuses primarily on structuring and managing bespoke discretionary portfolios for private clients, charities, trusts, pension funds and intermediaries.
The company is one of the UK’s largest independently owned discretionary investment firms, tracing its heritage back to 1771 and now based in 13 locations across the UK, Jersey and Ireland with more than £15.5bn* of funds under management.