SCOTLAND FACES ETHICAL INVESTMENT CHALLENGE WARNS LEADING RECRUITMENT SPECIALIST
SUSTAINABLE investing has “come of age” thanks to the pandemic, with recruitment experts across Scotland’s financial sector urging those within it to upskill in order to thrive in a changed landscape – or risk becoming obsolete.
Edinburgh-based Core-Asset Consulting is warning of a growing knowledge gap as funds are increasingly held to account and placed under scrutiny for their contribution to the “social good”.
Throughout 2020 and 2021 socially responsible investment (SRI) has been under the spotlight, frequently breaking into mainstream news – such as when investors pulled out of a major retailer after alleged Covid breaches, as well as growing calls for divestment from fossil fuels and heavy polluters.
Conversely, Baillie Gifford cashed in on £13bn of Tesla shares, demonstrating that SRI was no longer the preserve of niche operators – or applied to investments in small businesses.
Now, with SRI funds consistently outperforming traditional – and significant pension funds committing to investments that demonstrate they are “part of the solution not the problem”, the recruitment experts are heavily recommending those in the sector give it due focus.
Betsy Williamson, founder and Managing Director of Core-Asset Consulting, said: “SRI and Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) have entered common business language in the last year, they are well and truly part of the mainstream.
“Much of it is driven from the climate emergency and an acknowledgement of the global impact of investment. Firms are under increased scrutiny and are expected to be a net positive to society.
“Gone are the days when fund managers can purely chase profit above all else. Of course, it is and always will be crucial – but it has to be done responsibly.
“It is a complex picture though. Genuine SRI requires an intensive focus and huge amounts of specialist work, ensuring that investments and their entire supply chain demonstrate the good ethics that may appear on the surface.
“Covid clearly shined a light on the interconnected nature of our planet. With Global Asset Managers collectively invested in multiple assets across numerous sectors, a global failure would be catastrophic on portfolios.
“Scotland has a long and proud history in asset management and it is crucial our people are at the forefront of this seismic change.”
Core-Asset Consulting specialises in the asset management, investment, financial services, accountancy and legal sectors. It was formed in 2005 by Betsy Williamson and has become a market leader in Scotland.