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Financial Planning firm to use only ESG-verified funds

 

Cheshire-based Equilibrium Financial Planning – which manages £1bn for clients – has committed to invest client money only in fund groups that meet ESG criteria.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria include a range of environmental and social responsibility commitments.

As part of the move Equilibrium has become a signatory to the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) to help it focus on ESG investing.

The £10m-turnover wealth manager says the move means that Equilibrium’s sister company, Equilibrium Investment Management, will only invest with fund management groups who are PRI signatories by the end of 2021.

It will require that these firms have an average PRI score of ‘A’ or above across certain criteria.

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Should these fund managers score below ‘A’ within the ‘strategy & governance’ and ‘active ownership’ categories, Equilibrium says it will require them to take action or will remove them from portfolios.

Equilibrium was established in 1995 and is based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. It mainly works with HNW individuals, couples and families, and manages nearly £1bn of assets for 1,000 families.

Mike Deverell, partner and investment manager at Equilibrium, said: “We are concerned that many firms conduct what people now refer to as ‘greenwashing’, and it was why our approach has been more considered and careful.

“We believe the most important thing is to make sure we engage with the companies we invest with on ESG issues, and we incorporate it into all our investment decisions. We think UNPRI is a great initiative – what we like about it is that it’s a framework which will allow us to hold our fund management groups and ourselves to account.”

He said the firm had already received a good response from fund managers with one manager Equilibrium invests, which was not a UNPRI signatory, deciding to sign up after discussions with Equilibrium.

The firm plans to monitor portfolios’ carbon emissions so clients can see their portfolio’s carbon footprint.

Founder Colin Lawson also appointed a philanthropy adviser earlier this year, who advises the company on its donations strategy and offers consultancy for clients who want to increase their philanthropic activity.

Equilibrium’s first PRI assessment will take place in 2022.

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