FSF FinTech Event: Answering the demand for responsible investing

By Fiona Couper on Tuesday, 19 January 2021

We recently held our first event of 2021 in collaboration with the Financial Services Forum about how FinTech are answering an increased demand for responsible investing - one of the positives resulting from the pandemic.

2020 was in fact a record year for wealthtech companies. According to CB Insights, while deals involving global FinTech companies were down, for wealthtech providers, funding has climbed steadily, with unicorns like Greenlight, Robinhood, and Trumid each raising mega-rounds (deals worth $100M+), and Robinhood claim to have added 3M new accounts in Q1 2020.

ESG investing was strong in 2020, with global inflows exceeding US$71bn from April-June 2020 and reaching US$1tr overall according to Morningstar, this move towards responsible ESG investing is only forecast to grow further. According to a survey published by Blackrock earlier this month - investors are planning to double their allocations to sustainable products over the next five years.

Which is why we were delighted to be joined by a panel at the forefront of answering the increased demand for responsibly led investing and investment, who are providing wider, more transparent and smarter options that will drive lasting change that allows society and our plant to thrive.

Caroline Murphree, CEO Europe, Wealthsimple, a leading digital investing company that makes investing accessible and affordable for everyone.

Bruce Davis, Founder and Joint Managing Director, Abundance Investment, the first regulated crowdfunding platform in the world.

Gabriela Herculano, CEO & Co-Founder of iClima Earth, the London-based Impact Green FinTech. iClima wants to redefine climate change investments, motivated by the concept that the best way to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, is by not emitting in the first place.

Discussion covered:

• How much change in demand the panel have experienced, and how this is not just led by Millennials.

• With wide interpretation of ESG screening and no one agreed methodology, how ethical criteria underpinning the businesses being invested in, along with more transparent screening methodology and clear tangible metrics can help investors select between those who are genuinely investing for good and those who are greenwashing.

• How digitisation continues to change the way in which wealth management is delivered but the marketplace is reflecting a desire to combine tech and human touch e.g. a hybrid model.

• The responsibility required that the new wealth tech and funding platforms have to protect the less sophisticated investor.

• How to stay differentiated and continue to meet investor, regulator and customer expectations in relation to ESG investing; taking a longer term perspective, thinking 2030, and considering the audience controlling the wealth will be increasingly female.

Thanks again to the panel for what was a lively, highly topical and optimistic conversation.

Click here to listen to the recording.

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