Best for the World 2017: EQ Investors
CD: What does being on the Best for the World list mean for your company?
It's great to be recognised for having developed a unique product in the impact investing space. Ordinary investors who are saving for a rainy day, or for retirement, usually don't have the option to consider the impact of their investments on society and on the environment. We're on a mission to make impact investing as widely available and as mainstream as possible - not just for sophisticated or high net worth investors, but for everyone. Being on the Best for the World list is going to really help us get this message out there and hopefully encourage more people to consider the social and environmental impact of their investments!
CD: What practices has your company implemented that has helped you become Best for the World?
5 years ago we launched the EQ Positive Impact Portfolios for clients who want to make a positive contribution to the society and the environment. These are portfolios of investment funds that we have carefully screened, not just to exclude harmful industries, but to actively select investments that are generating solutions to global social and environmental problems. They are designed to work as standalone investment portfolios that are suitable for, e.g. a personal pension.
This year we have opened up access to the Positive Impact Portfolios to clients of other financial advisory firms, as well as our own.This is now a rapidly growing area of our business, and is really helping us achieve our goal of making impact investing as widely available and as mainstream as possible. Year on year, we aim at improving the overall impact of the investments by increasing the minimum threshold for funds to be considered.This means replacing existing holdings with new ones that have a greater/clearer impact on society and the environment. Impact reporting is absolutely crucial to us, so we engage with fund managers to help them improve their level of disclosure, and we always question the status quo.
CD: In what ways does the company include and consider your stakeholders in achieving your mission and having a positive impact? How has it contributed to the company fulfilling its mission?
Our clients are really key to us so we always take seriously their feedback to see how we can improve the make of the portfolios as well as our overall strategy.
Our employees also play a key role both because they always have valuable insights to share about impact investing and also because many of them are invested in these portfolios. Finally, our fund managers (aka our suppliers) are essential because without them the portfolios would not exist! They're constantly sharing the latest trends and developments in the impact investing space with us, and presenting new potential investments in areas that we may have no exposure to.
We are also in constant, close dialogue with our fund managers to enable us to report on the impact of our portfolios.
CD: What has your company learned about its operations and areas for improvement by certifying through the B Impact Assessment?
The B Impact Assessment questions have prompted discussions across the business, in considering how the subject/issue raised could benefit our clients or our product and how we could implement better ways of working. In some areas the Assessment has prompted us to consider aspects of our business that we might not otherwise have thought of as a priority - but on consideration there just isn't really a good reason not to do them!
CD: Does the company actively seek improvement in its B Impact Assessment score? If yes, what goals do you have for continued improvement?
An area we're working to improve is the Environment section of the B Impact Assessment. At the moment most of the impact reporting we do focuses on the investments we make on behalf of clients. (We'd say this is our most material impact, as it extends way beyond our local operations in London..). However, the B Impact Assessment is encouraging us to do our own environmental impact assessment, that includes our own operations. This will be something of a first for us!
CD: Congratulations again EQ Investors on being a Best for Customers Honoree!
View the B Impact Report for EQ Investors.