Joel Muckett 14 Nov 2017 01:42pm

More commitment needed for social impact investing

The government and financial services industry have been urged to increase their support for the UK social impact investment market

A government-commissioned report has revealed that the UK is failing to “keep pace” in enabling people to make social impact investments. Although the UK has long been a leader in social impact investing, the report, Growing a culture of social impact investing in the UK, found that people who want to make impact part of their savings or investment choice “still find it hard to do so”.

The review was led by the chair of Allianz Global Investors, Elizabeth Corley and an independent advisory group made up of senior representatives from both the financial industry and social sector.

It found a growing interest among individuals for their investments to have a positive impact on society and produce financial returns, but acknowledged that the underdeveloped market did not support this.

Among 53 of the recommendations made, it suggested that the government and financial services industry support co-investment and increase opportunities for investment in the social impact market.

“Our aim in undertaking this work was to broaden discussion and encourage wider debate around social impact investing to catalyse an increased focus on developing the market,” said Corley.

She said the ideas put forward by members of the independent advisory group demonstrated the “degree of interest” in moving social impact investing forward, and hoped they would keep the UK at the forefront of the social impact investing market.

The report also recommended that the government and social sector increased reporting in the growth of the social impact investment market, which would give the financial services industry better understanding of non-financial outcomes.

“We want people to make investments that reflect their values and have a positive impact on the issues they care about,” said sport and civil society secretary Tracey Crouch, adding that the recommendations were an “important first step”.

Economic secretary to the treasury, Stephen Barclay pointed out that social impact investing had the power to make a positive change in society, while also bringing positive financial returns. “It’s a win-win, which is why demand is growing.”

He added that the market had “enormous potential” but stressed a need to make it easier for people to invest, which the recommendations would make possible.