Social impact investment as a concept is gaining momentum. The idea that you can invest money for positive social impact and for financial return is something that appeals to many.
Wealth managers, private banks and financial advisers are increasingly being asked about social impact investing. Recent research suggests that 20% of the UK population that are in a position to make investments hold some sort of positive investment, defined as saving and investing of personal wealth for the benefit of society. A further 31% would be interested to do so for the first time. To date, many of these positive investment opportunities only reach an elite group of investors despite there being a much broader level of interest in positive investing across the population.
Why might there be this disconnect between client demand and money invested for impact?
In the UK, more than half of the investment products sold to investors come via a professional adviser. We believe one of the barriers is the lack of formal training in social impact investing.
Professional financial advisers need help navigating social investments. They need to develop effective questions that help uncover clients’ (often latent) social objectives, learn how to have a knowledgeable and insightful discussion with clients about values based investing and learn how to incorporate social impact investment into their client process. They also need to understand how Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) can be used as a tool within the financial plan and the ability to articulate the different types of social investment products available and the return, risk and impact associated with them.
We are delighted that Worthstone is launching the Adviser Competency Training, the UK’s first social investment training manual for financial advisers. We are pleased to support the take up of this training by making it more cost effective for advisers who have a genuine interest in giving social investment advice but are completely new to this way of investing.
A growing group of advisers have been engaged in social investments for a number of years. They have been doing this for very different reasons – to be able to satisfy client demand for investing positively, to future-proof their business as wealth is transferred to the millennial generation and to differentiate their value-add to clients. We hope more advisers will join them.
For more information on Worthstone’s Adviser Competency Training, please visit www.worthstone.co.uk/adviser-competency-training/
 Forthcoming research: Understanding the Positive Investor, Ethex 2016 https://www.ethex.org.uk/positiveinvesting
 The Financial Adviser Market in Numbers: Association of Professional Financial Advisers, March 2016