Monday, 19 October 2015
Pushing the Ethical Envelope - Abundance Sipp and Good Money Week
This week is Good Money Week so take a look at what's going on and get involved.
My "actions" towards becoming a more ethical investor/consumer include cancelling my subscription to Money Observer and using my financial magazine "allowance" to subscribe to Ethical Consumer instead. I've also written to my MP asking him to actively support the movement towards transparency and accountability in all areas of finance that is being promoted during the week.
Having control over what is being done with our money makes a big difference to how we feel about the whole process and, for me, being able to be confident that my investments are being used ethically would give me an added "bonus" that is worth far more than an extra % point on the potential profit. However it turns out that taking a hit on profits is no longer necessary because, (as was reported this week) ethical funds are now heading to the top of the leader boards due to the collapse in the prices of oil and other mining stock.
Divestment has actually made good financial sense for some time because, even if you're not worried about what will happen to the planet and the people on it after you're gone, you have to acknowledge that we simply cannot dig up and burn most of the fossil fuel left in the ground if we have any hope at all of keeping global warming down below the target levels agreed by governments. Fossil fuel companies are in very real danger of not being able to realise expected profits. It would be very short sighted indeed not to take this on board (-: if the cap fits Ms Rudd et al :-))
In recognition of the unease many of us feel about the opaque nature of investing, Abundance, who I've been investing (and earning over 7% interest) with since March, have just announced the first peer-to-peer SIPP. There's a good write up on this on crowdfundinsider.com so I won't go into details here but it's very competitively priced (free to set up and no fee for the first year, 0.3% thereafter) and seems to make excellent sense if you're ethically inclined and worried about putting all your retirement eggs in the volatile equity basket.
I'm not in the market for any additional retirement investing myself as I'll soon be drawing down what I've got, but I'll certainly be talking about the Abundance product with my sons and their friends. My youngest son in particular is extremely "pension poor" as he's been in full time higher education for the last 8 years. This is exactly the kind of product that will appeal to him and his circle of friends who take the issues of corporate financial integrity and responsibility for the planet very seriously, seeing, as they can, where "turning a blind eye" has got us so far.
The introduction of new financial products such as this, ones that allow us to make our money work in ways we want it to, is an exercise in crowd-sourcing in its own right. People really do want to know what is being done with their money, and they want to be able to make informed choices about whose hands they put it in. Abundance have done their research and seem to have got a lot of things right regarding this product. They are honest about the fact that this pension is not for everyone and the risks involved. At the very least they are to be applauded for pushing the market forward and providing a product that supports all the principles of "Good Money" this and every week.