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Growing interest in sustainability and ethical issues leads to trebling of use of FundEcoMarket tool over 12 months

  • By Sue Whitbread
  • News

Use of the Fund EcoMarket (SRI) fund tool has trebled over 12 months – with users indicating growing interest in both sustainability and ethical issues.

Figures released today by SRI Services point to rapidly growing interest in environmental, social and ethical investment in the retail (individual) investment market.

Use of the free to use website, intended primarily for IFAs and other intermediaries, rose dramatically in the 12 months to 30 June 2019 – to over 9,000 ‘unique users’ – up from 3,100 ‘unique users’ in the previous 12 months (July 2017 to June 2018).

Fund EcoMarket use over the 12 months to 30 June 2019

  • ‘Unique users’ 9.4k
  • Number of ‘sessions’ (number of times the site was used) 14k
  • Average session time 4.27 minutes

Figures for the six months to 30 June 2019 indicate accelerating use as the period accounted for more than 50 % of the 12 month total above:

  • Fund EcoMarket had 5.5k ‘Unique users’ for the first half of 2019
  • There were 7.9k Fund EcoMarket user ‘sessions’ during the first half of 2019

12 Months figures were approximately three times that of the previous 12 months (July 2017 – June 2018) which were:

  • ‘Unique users’ 3.1k
  • Number of ‘sessions’ 5.6k
    • Source: All quoted numbers are from Google Analytics

What did people search for?

Analytics showed that from 1 January (when this information started to be tracked) to 30 June 2019 there were 12,458 ‘events’.  Or put another way – people clicked on filter or fund options over 12,000 times in the first half of 2019.

The top 50 searches (clicks on filter options and funds) showed a diverse mix – with people selecting generic fund identification options (products, asset types and geographic regions), ‘SRI Styles’* (Fund EcoMarket’s own fund labelling/ classification system) and individual ethical, social and environmental issues, policies, strategies or funds.

Commenting on the results founder Julia Dreblow (pictured) said: “I am absolutely delighted this site is proving so useful.  These results support my long-held views that individual investors are interested in this area – and that in order to offer advice to clients intermediaries need a wide range of information on both ethical, social and environmental strategies and fund identification information. The fact we go further and publish substantial amounts of fund manager supplied SRI policy and strategy information via filters, text and links alongside fact finding and audit trail support makes it easy for users to ‘look under the bonnet’ and document their findings for their audit trail in just a few clicks.

With regard to the numbers, I am really pleased with the recent increase as the site is now being ‘found’.   Yet in many ways it is the direction of travel that is more important – particularly given the key role investors can and should play in helping to solve environmental and social problems – and the sound financial case for doing so.”

Commenting on the specifics she added: “ ‘OEIC/Unit Trust’ was the most commonly used search (#1), followed by ‘Sustainability Themed’ (#2) options – which tallies with shifting public opinion, government policy and the number of new fund launches in this area.  Our ‘Ethically Balanced’ SRI Style ranked fourth, pointing to significant demand for funds that take values-based (and ESG) issues seriously.

The highest individual ESG or ethical issue was ‘Avoids Coal, Oil and Gas Majors’ (#14) – mirroring growing concerns about the climate emergency and in line with the rapidly growing Divest movement.  This was complimented by other high-ranking searches that reflect the same fears such as ‘[has] Climate Change / GHG policy’ (#19), ‘Invests in clean energy/renewables’ (#21) ‘Avoids Fracking and Tar Sands’ (#24).

The more traditional ethical issues that ranked most highly were ‘Armaments Manufacturers Avoidance’ (#17), ‘Animal Testing excluded’ (#18), ‘Animal Welfare’ (#20) and ‘Avoids Tobacco Production’ (#26) – indicating that these remain important to many people.”

The top 30 Fund EcoMarket searches from 1 January and 30 June 2019 were:

 

1.      OEIC/Unit Trust
2.      Sustainability Themed
3.      Equity
4.      Ethically Balanced
5.      Mixed Asset
6.      Global
7.      Environmentally Themed
8.      UK
9.      Negative Ethical
10.  Environmental policy
11.  Equity Income
12.  Investment Trust
13.  Fixed Interest
14.  Coal, oil &/or gas majors excluded
15.  Passive Equity
16.  Unclassified
17.  Armaments manufacturers avoided
18.  Animal testing exclusion policy
19.  Climate change / GHG policy
20.  Animal welfare policy
21.  Invests in clean energy/renewables
22.  Europe
23.  ESG Plus
24.  Fracking and tar sands excluded
25.  Property
26.  Tobacco production avoided
27.  Emerging Markets
28.  USA
29.  Not Set
30.  Clean energy themed

 

W: www.FundEcoMarket.co.uk

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